WSJ: After 9th Circuit Modifies Injunction, DHS Resumes Review Of Visa Vetting Procedures!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-resuming-global-vetting-review-after-courts-green-light-1497996819

 Laura Meckler reports in the WSJ:

“WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump’s travel ban remains on hold due to court rulings, but his administration is resuming a global review of nations that may lead to far more sweeping travel restrictions.

The travel ban aims to stop people from six Muslim-majority countries from coming to the U.S., based on what the White House says are security concerns. The global review will examine every other country to determine whether any should be added to the list. The goal is to compel nations to cooperate more fully with U.S. efforts to vet their citizens, officials say.

The global review was ordered along with the travel ban, and for months, both had been kept on hold by a federal judge in Hawaii. But last week, an appeals court said the administration should be allowed to resume the study, and on Monday night, the court put its ruling into effect.

Now the Department of Homeland Security says it is moving forward.

“The ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals finally allows DHS to resume the important work of reviewing the information provided by all countries on their citizens who desire to travel to the United States, to ensure the applicant doesn’t present a security or public safety threat to the U.S.,” said DHS spokesman Dave Lapan. “DHS will undertake a full review of the vetting requirements worldwide in the expectation of raising the global security bar to better protect our nation.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

Thanks to Nolan Rappaport for bringing this to my attention.

PWS

06-21-17

BREAKING: Trump’s Travel Ban 2.0 Loses Again In 9th Circuit!

Here’s the text of the unanimous “per curium” decision by a panel consisting of Circuit Judges Michael Daly Hawkins, Ronald M. Gould, & Richard A. Paez:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/12/us/politics/document-Read-the-Ninth-Court-of-Appeals-Ruling-on-Trump.html

And, here’s the related story in the NY Times, reported by Ronald Liptak:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/us/politics/trump-travel-ban-court-of-appeals.html

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This order was more or less expected by most legal observers. The 9th Circuit did lift the part of the District Court’s injunction preventing the President from directing an internal review of vetting procedures. Also interestingly, the 9th Circuit found that the President’s attempt to “cut” FY 2017 refugee admissions from 110,000 to 50,000 exceeded his authority, to a large extent because he failed to undertake the “advance consultation with Congress” required by the INA.

The Supreme Court presently is deciding whether or not to review a similar case from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the injunction against Travel Ban 2.0.

The Ninth Circuit case is State of Hawaii v. Trump.

PWS

06-12-17

BREAKING: U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE DERRICK WATSON TURNS TRAVEL BAN 2.0 TRO INTO A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION — Hawaii v. Trump — USG Can Appeal To 9th!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/29/politics/hawaii-trump-travel-ban-extended/index.html?adkey=bn

Laura Jarrett at CNN reports:

“(CNN) A federal judge in Hawaii has granted the state’s request for a longer term halt of the revised travel ban executive order. US District Court Judge Derrick Watson blocked the revised executive order two weeks ago — but it was only a temporary halt through a restraining order. The plaintiffs asked for it to be converted into a longer term preliminary injunction, and he agreed Wednesday night.

“The Court concludes that, on the record before it, Plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim.”
This means the Justice Department can now appeal the ruling to the 9th Circuit, should it choose to do so.”

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I’m sure there will be more in the media about this  later today!

PWS

03/29/17

POLITICO LITIGATION: DOJ In “Stall Mode” In Hawaii Travel Ban Case — “Dire Emergency” Threatening The Republic Subsides As Curiously As It Arose, Leaving Experts To Ponder The Meaning Of The Administration’s Changed Strategy!

http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2017/03/donald-trump-travel-ban-ninth-circuit-appeal-236575

Josh Gerstein writes in Politico:

“When President Donald Trump’s first travel ban executive order was effectively shut down by a federal judge, the Trump administration seemed to be in a huge rush to get the policy back on track.

This time? Not so much.

It took less than a day for Justice Department lawyers to file an appeal last month after U.S. District Court Judge James Robart blocked the key parts of Trump’s directive.

A few hours later — just after midnight Eastern Time — the federal government filed an emergency motion asking the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit to allow the president to move forward with his plan to halt travel to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries and to suspend refugee admissions from across the globe.

A three-judge 9th Circuit panel unanimously turned down Trump’s request, prompting the president to redraft the executive order, dropping Iraq from the roster of affected countries and exempting existing visa-holders from the directive.

But when a federal judge in Hawaii issued a broad block on the new order March 15, just hours before it was set to kick in, there was no immediate appeal. In fact, nearly two weeks later, the Justice Department is still tangling with Honolulu U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson and has yet to take the issue back to the 9th Circuit.

The delay has puzzled many lawyers tracking the litigation, particularly given Trump’s public warning that “many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country” as a result of the courts’ interference with his first travel ban directive. A total of two months have now passed since Trump signed his first order.

“A lot of people have talked about that,” said University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias. “It seems hard to wait on this without undercutting the argument” that the travel ban order is needed to address an urgent national security threat, he added.

Some attorneys believe the Justice Department is intentionally dragging its feet in the Hawaii case because the 9th Circuit rotates the three-judge panels assigned to motions every month, with the next swap-out due Saturday. The 9th Circuit also announces the panels publicly, although not in advance. This month’s consists of two Obama-appointed judges — Morgan Christen and John Owens — along with George W. Bush appointee Milan Smith.”

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Interesting that Gerstein reports later in his article that the 4th Circuit might “bypass” the panel stage and just send the “Maryland case” directly to the en banc court. I hadn’t picked up on that. Sounds unusual.

As I have speculated before, no matter what happens in the 4th Circuit, if this issue does get to the Supremes, it’s unlikely to be decided until some time in 2018. So, barring something pretty unusual, the Travel Ban will be “banned” for the foreseeable future.

I suspect that by then, the Administration will have discovered that it doesn’t need an Executive Order and all this hoopla to quietly and gradually “beef up” visa and refugee vetting in individual cases or groups of cases where it is warranted. They have already started that process, as I previously reported. I think the scope, method, publicity, and “in your face” tone of the two EOs are what got them into difficulty with the courts.

PWS

03/29/17

 

DOJ’s Travel Ban Litigating Strategy Discussed — The Rush Appears To Be “Off!”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/03/23/trump-said-dangerous-people-might-be-pouring-in-without-his-travel-ban-but-hes-not-rushing-to-restore-it/?utm_term=.91d750428250

Matt Zapotosky reports in the Washington Post:

“Legal analysts and opponents say the Justice Department is likely pursuing a more methodical, strategic approach in hopes of a long-term victory — although in the process, the administration is hurting its case that the order is needed for urgent national security.

“If they don’t try to move the case as quickly as possible,” said Leon Fresco, deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Immigration Litigation in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department, “it does undermine the security rationale.”

Trump’s new travel order — which suspended the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and blocked the issuance of new visas to citizens of Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Somalia and Syria for 90 days — was supposed to take effect March 16, but U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii blocked the administration from enforcing the critical sections of it. Early the next day, a federal judge in Maryland issued a similar ruling — leaving the administration with two different cases, in two different appellate circuits, that they would need to get overturned before they could begin carrying out the president’s directive. All roads seemed to lead to the Supreme Court.
But now it seems all but certain that the president’s revised entry ban will stay suspended at least into April, and possibly longer.

Lawyers for the Justice Department filed a notice of appeal in the Maryland case a day after the judge there ruled, but — unlike last time — they did not ask the higher court to immediately set aside the freeze on the new ban. They said they will do so Friday, but those challenging the ban will have a week to respond, and the Justice Department will then be allowed to file more written arguments by April 5.

The Trump administration has been content to let the court battle play out even more slowly in Hawaii, not elevating the dispute beyond a lower-court judge. The Justice Department has not filed a notice of its intent to appeal the ruling, and the next hearing in that case is set for March 29. Justice Department lawyers wrote Thursday that they would appeal to a higher court if that hearing doesn’t resolve in their favor. The courts will ultimately have to decide important questions, including how much authority they have to weigh in on the president’s national security determinations, whether Trump’s order was meant to discriminate against Muslims, and whether and how the president’s and his advisers’ own comments can be used against them.

There could be strategic reasons for pumping the brakes. Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School, said the Justice Department might be hoping for a favorable ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, of which Maryland is a part, before they bring a case before the 9th Circuit, of which Hawaii is a part. A three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit unanimously rejected the administration’s bid to restore Trump’s first entry ban after it was frozen. The 4th Circuit on Thursday scheduled oral argument in its case for May 8.

And the Justice Department could be playing an even longer game, hoping that by the time the case makes its way to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch will have joined the justices and brought to an end what many see as a 4-to-4 split along ideological lines, said Jonathan E. Meyer, a former deputy general counsel in the Department of Homeland Security under Obama who now works in private practice at Sheppard Mullin.”

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Even assuming that the Supremes eventually take the case, by no means a “gimme,” it probably would not be heard by the Court until some time in 2018 with a decision perhaps months after the argument. During that time, it is highly likely that the Travel Ban will remain enjoined.

From a government standpoint, it’s always prudent to 1) think carefully before taking on issues that can be litigated in U.S. District Courts which have authority to issue nationwide injunctions which require only a preliminary showing and are very difficult to “undo” (by contrast, “Removal Cases” usually can only be litigated in Circuit Courts of Appeal, which, although higher on the “judicial totem pole” than USDCs, lack authority to issue nationwide injunctions in connection with such individual case judicial review); and 2) always have “Plan B.” Here, “Plan B” might be the more stringent requirements for screening and issuing visas from countries where terrorist activity has taken place set forth in Secretary of State Tillerson’s recent instructions discussed in my previous blog:

http://wp.me/p8eeJm-xN

PWS

03/23/17

 

 

THE HILL: N. Rappaport Blasts U.S. Courts For Blasting Trump!

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/324764-federal-courts-upend-legal-precedent-in-blocking-trumps-travel

Nolan writes:

“But the court’s objection to the travel ban, which would impose a 90-day suspension on the entry into the United States of nationals from six countries which were designated by Congress and the Obama administration as posing national security risks, is that President Trump wrote it.

. . . .

Maybe the courts should heed the advice of former Vice President Joe Biden who said last week that President Trump “deserves a chance” to lead the country.”

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PWS

02/20/17

TRAVEL BAN UPDATE: “SOPS” Continue To Flow From 9th Cir. Judges in Washington v. Trump — WSJ & WASHPOST Hang “Stupid But Constitutional” Tag On Trump — CNN’s Danny Cevallos Agrees With Rappaport That Trump Has Good Chance Of Ultimate Legal Win!

What’s a “SOP?”  That was BIA lingo for “separate opinion,” a fairly frequent occurrence on the “Schmidt Board.”

There are now five separate opinions commenting on the refusal of the en banc 9th Circuit to vacate the panel’s decision in State of Washington v. Trump following the Government’s decision to withdraw it’s appeal form the TRO on “Travel Ban 1.0:”

“This order is being filed along with a concurrence from Judge Reinhardt, a concurrence from Judge Berzon, a dissent from Judge Kozinski, a dissent from Judge Bybee, and a dissent from Judge Bea. No further opinions will be filed.

Josh Gerstein explains in Politico:

“President Donald Trump’s travel ban has triggered an unusually caustic public spat among the judges of the federal appeals court that first took up the issue.

The disagreement began to play out publicly Wednesday when five 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges publicly recorded their disagreement with a decision three of their colleagues issued last month refusing to allow Trump to reinstate the first version of his travel ban executive order.
The fight escalated dramatically on Friday with the five Republican-appointed judges filing another withering attack on the earlier opinion and two liberal judges accusing their conservative colleagues of trying to make an end-run around the traditional judicial process.

In the new opinion, Judge Alex Kozinski blasted the earlier ruling for essentially ignoring the fact that most of those affected by Trump’s initial travel ban have no constitutional rights.

“This St. Bernard is being wagged by a flea on its tail,” Kozinski wrote, joined by Judges Carlos Bea, Jay Bybee, Sandra Ikuta and Consuelo Callahan.

Kozinski’s opinion harshly criticized the earlier 9th Circuit decision for blessing the idea that courts could take account of Trump’s campaign-trail statements vowing to implement a Muslim ban.

“My colleagues err by failing to vacate this hasty opinion. The panel’s unnecessary statements on this subject will shape litigation near and far. We’ll quest aimlessly for true intentions across a sea of insults and hyperbole. It will be (as it were) a huge, total disaster,” Kozinski said, in an an apparent tip of the hat to Trump’s bombast.

That didn’t sit well with Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who accused his colleagues of trying to affect the ongoing litigation over Trump’s redrafted executive order.

“Judge Kozinski’s diatribe, filed today, confirms that a small group of judges, having failed in their effort to undo this court’s decision with respect to President Trump’s first Executive Order, now seek on their own, under the guise of a dissent from the denial of en banc rehearing of an order of voluntary dismissal, to decide the constitutionality of a second Executive Order that is not before this court,” wrote Reinhardt, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter. “That is hardly the way the judiciary functions. Peculiar indeed!”

Another liberal 9th Circuit judge, Marsha Berzon, weighed in Friday with a more restrained rejection of her colleagues’ efforts to undermine the earlier ruling.

“Judges are empowered to decide issues properly before them, not to express their personal views on legal questions no one has asked them. There is no appeal currently before us, and so no stay motion pending that appeal currently before us either,” wrote Berzon, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. “All the merits commentary in the dissents filed by a small minority of the judges of this court is entirely out of place.”
“My dissenting colleagues should not be engaging in a one-sided attack on a decision by a duly constituted panel of this court,” Berzon added. “We will have this discussion, or one like it. But not now.”

Kozinski responded by accusing his liberal colleagues of trying to silence the court’s public debate on the issue.”

“My colleagues’ effort to muzzle criticism of an egregiously wrong panel opinion betrays their insecurity about the opinion’s legal analysis,” wrote Kozinski, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan.”

Here’s the link to Gerstein’s article:

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/9th-circuit-judges-feud-trump-travel-ban-236211

And, here is the link to the court’s order containing all of the opinions, so you can judge for yourself:

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2017/03/17/17-35105_Amd_Order.pdf

Meanwhile, the WSJ Editorial Board channeled a little of the late Justice Antonin Scalia:

“The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once wished aloud that all federal judges be issued a stamp that said “Stupid but Constitutional.” Such a stamp would have been useful this week to the two federal judges who bounced President Trump’s revised travel ban that suspends immigration from six Muslim-majority countries that the Administration says pose particular terror risks.

Our view is that the ban is lousy policy, and any urgency that Mr. Trump’s first-week executive order once had is gone. But after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the original version, the White House went back to the drafting board and tailored the new order to address the court’s objections. The President has vast discretion over immigration, and the do-over is grounded both in statute and core presidential powers, which is when the Supreme Court’s Youngstown decision teaches that a President’s authority to act is strongest.”

Read the complete editorial here:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-trump-legal-exception-1489706694

On today’s editorial page, the Washington Post made much the same point, if only a little less emphatically with respect to the Administration’s legal position:

“THE SPEED and enthusiasm with which two federal courts halted President Trump’s latest travel executive order might suggest that the revised policy is as obviously problematic as the last, which was a sloppy rush job that the government poorly defended in court. In fact, the revised policy, while still more likely to harm than help national security, is legally far more defensible. Decades of precedent instruct judges to defer to the executive branch on immigration and national security matters such as this. It should surprise no one if the Supreme Court eventually allows the Trump administration to proceed.”

Read the complete Post editorial here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-new-travel-order-is-self-defeating-and-maybe-legal-too/2017/03/17/95171a6c-0a93-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.7cf47133cd49

Finally, CNN Legal Analyst Danny Cevallos makes many of the same points that Nolan Rappaport has made in his articles in The Hill in predicting that the Administration legally has a winner if they are ever able to get this issue to the Supremes:

“The president is in charge of immigration. Immigration policy, by its very definition, is a form of discrimination. The only truly nondiscriminatory immigration policy would be: Everyone come in, whenever you want. Anything short of that is discrimination in some form, and it’s generally within the president’s province. This is not some village rezoning policy. This is national immigration policy, and it’s different than any of the other Establishment Clause cases.
If courts can look into this particular President’s prior statements when considering the constitutionality of his actions, then every single executive action is potentially vulnerable. A gender-neutral executive order could be challenged as discriminatory against women. After all, this is the candidate who believes women can just be grabbed by the …, well, you know. A presidential action that is disability-neutral could be challenged on the basis that the candidate mocked a disabled reporter.
While the court in Hawaii cited established Supreme Court precedent in finding a probable Establishment Clause violation, the appellate courts could still find that Trump’s executive authority prevails. Yes, the district court cited some controlling authority, but an appellate court could distinguish those cases from the unique case before it — one that pits constitutional executive power head-to-head with the First Amendment.”

Read the full Cevallos analysis here:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/16/opinions/trump-win-travel-ban-appeal-danny-cevallos-opinion/index.html

Then, read Nolan’s previous articles from The Hill or as reposted on this blog.

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Overall, I think it is a good thing when there is some spirited dissent and disagreement among members of a collegial court like the 9th Circuit.  It shows that the Judges are engaged and that they care about the issues, as they should. Also, dissent is often directed at other courts (like the Supreme Court), at Congress, the Executive, or at educating the media and the public at large about important legal issues. Without dissent and the resulting dialogue it often provokes, you would have “a room full of people patting each other on the back.” And, what’s the purpose of a “deliberative” collegial court that doesn’t “deliberate?”

PWS

03/18/17

 

WashPost: Trump & Advisers Are Own Worst Enemies — Intemperate Statements And Overt Bias Undermine Litigation — Clients Should Not Comment On Pending Cases Is One Of The Oldest Rules Of The Game — Trump & Co. Should Follow It If They Want To Be “Winners”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-and-his-advisers-cant-keep-quiet–and-its-becoming-a-real-problem/2017/03/16/157d2100-0a63-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_trumpwords-815pm:homepage/story&utm_term=.9888c4c5deac

“But perhaps nowhere have Trump’s words been as damaging as his attempts to implement the travel ban — which may have been damaged further by Trump’s remarks at his Nashville rally. Trump inflamed controversy during the campaign by calling for a temporary ban on all foreign Muslims from entering the United States, then later shifted to vague pledges to ban people from countries with a history of Islamist terrorism.

“I am sure that challengers will use the president’s comments last night as further evidence that the true intent of his executive order is to bar Muslim immigration,” said Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School.”

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Trying to defend this gang and some of their ill-conceived policies and unnecessarily inflammatory statements is going to be a challenge, even for the most savvy Government attorney.

PWS

03/16/17

BREAKING: ENJOINED AGAIN! NATIONWIDE TRO! Judge in Hawaii Says Travel Ban Violates Establishment Clause! Trump Administration Basically Found “Not Credible” On Immigration/National Security Claims — Trump’s Own Statements & Those of Giuliani, Miller Used To Show Bias!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-travel-ban-blocked_us_58c99d18e4b00705db4bc38f

Report from HuffPost:

“A federal judge in Hawaii has placed a nationwide hold on key aspects of President Donald Trump’s second attempt at a ban on travel ― a scaled-back version that targeted all non-visa holders from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as a halt on the U.S. refugee resettlement program ― just hours before the new restrictions were to take effect.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said sections of the new travel order likely amounted to a violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which forbids the government from disfavoring certain religions over others.

Watson gave short shrift to the Trump administration’s argument that the new restrictions applied to a “small fraction” of the world’s 50 predominantly Muslim nations ― and thus could not be read to discriminate Muslims specifically.

“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable,” Watson wrote. “The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.”

The judge also discarded the government’s defense that the text of the new executive order was silent on religion, supposedly solving constitutional defects identified by courts with the first order.

“Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude … that the stated secular purpose of the Executive Order is, at the very least, secondary to a religious objective of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims,” Watson wrote.”

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Here is Judge Watson’s written decision in State of Hawaii v. Trump:

http://www.hid.uscourts.gov/files/announcement142/CV17-50%20219%20doc.pdf

More bad news for the Administration — the Third Circuit has enjoined the removal of an Afghani interpreter with a visa who was denied admission and allegedly “withdrew” his application. Read about it in the WashPost here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/immigration-authorities-to-deport-afghan-man-who-helped-us-government/2017/03/15/a7eecb9a-098e-11e7-a15f-a58d4a988474_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-banner-main_travelban1010am:homepage/story&utm_term=.051c21ef8afe

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It’s early in the game on the Administration’s uncompromisingly hard line approach to immigration issues. So far, however, they have racked up an impressive string of losses from coast to coast from Article III Judges all across the spectrum.

In other words, the bombastically inappropriate statements made by Trump and his advisors have “poisoned the well,” and the Administration is probably going to find it difficult to “un-poison” it. And, as long as guys like Bannon, Sessions, Miller, and Kobach are calling the shots, that might never happen.

As some have suggested, perhaps the President and his advisors need a type of “Executive Miranda Warnings” before they shoot off their mouths (or their Twitters) in public: “Everything you say (or Tweet) can and will be used against you.”

The next stop for “Travel Ban 2.0” probably will be the 9th Circuit. But, since the Administration already lost there on its appeal of the TRO in State of Washington v. Trump, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the 9th Circuit to lift the TRO. Like President Obama with the “DAPA Fiasco,” President Trump is learning that U.S. District Judges wield considerable power in our system.  As one of my colleagues once said, “U.S. District Judges are the last living potentates.”

None of this bodes well for the Administration’s next ill-advised plan — to ramp up removals, increase the use of immigration detention, maximize “expedited removal,” and reduce what’s left of the U.S. Immigration Court to the equivalent of two-shift assembly line workers churning out removal orders. Chances are that the Article III Courts are going to have something to say about that too. And, unless the Administration moderates its approach, it’s not likely to be anything they like.

PWS

03/15/17