Trump told reporters on board Air Force One Friday that a new executive
order could be issued as soon as Monday or Tuesday, if the
administration decides to pursue that course of action.
He said such a move might be faster than defending the current rule in
court. "We need speed for reasons of security," he explained.
Chief of Staff Reince Priebus sought to clarify to reporters, however,
that "every single court option is on the table, including an appeal of
the 9th Circuit decision on the TRO (temporary restraining order) to the
Supreme Court, including fighting out this case on the merits."
Meanwhile, an unidentified judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
requested the court's 25 full-time judges vote on whether the temporary
block of the president's travel ban should be reheard before an 11-judge
panel, known as en banc review, according to a court order. Both sides
in the lawsuit have been asked to file briefs by next week.
Earlier Friday, Trump said he had “no doubt” that government attorneys
would be able to overcome the appellate court's decision.
In the meantime, foreign travelers with valid visas can expect to enter
the U.S. unhindered.
Earlier, Trump said the legal dispute, which arose when states objected
to the executive order, was not about politics but the security of the
United States. Speaking at a White House news conference together with
visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said he would be
announcing new measures to bolster U.S. security next week.
Trump did not disclose any details about the new security measures, but
said he intends to bar from the United States people who are looking to
do harm. Critics have charged that his original order discriminated
against members of the Muslim faith.
Referring to Thursday's decision by a three-judge panel from the 9th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the president indicated
his administration will continue to pursue its case through the judicial
The appellate court let stand a lower court ruling that suspended
Trump's immigration order, which has been widely referred to as a "ban,"
although it has more limited effects. The action allows travelers who
were unable to enter the United States in late January to return and
complete border formalities.
The ruling did not say definitively whether or not the president's
action was constitutional. A professor law at Florida's University of
Miami, David Abraham, told VOA the appeals court only reviewed the lower
court order that halted enforcement of the president's order until its
legality can be determined.
“The temporary bar, the 'putting on ice' of the president's executive
order," will continue until the underlying question is resolved, Abraham
said, "...whether the president has the power without either
congressional or judicial support to bar people as he did.”
Appeal now seen uncertain
John Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University in the
nation's capital, told VOA he believes any move by the Trump
administration to immediately appeal the case to the Supreme Court is
unlikely to succeed, because legal experts see the high court as
ideologically divided, with four justices likely favoring Trump's view
and the four others likely opposing it.
However, Banzhaf added, the administration’s chances of prevailing in
court would rise if the case is delayed until Trump's nominee to fill
the vacant ninth seat on the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, is
installed. A win for the government would be more likely, he said, if
the case is put off until Gorsuch is confirmed by the Senate and sworn
in; Gorsuch was only nominated on January 31, and the confirmation
process is widely expected to take months.
“If they wait until the lower courts decide the underlying, important
issues - does the president have this authority? Is it constitutional? -
by the time that important issue gets up to the Supreme Court, there
will almost certainly be nine justices,” Banzhaf said.
Trump took to Twitter following the appellate court's ruling on
Thursday: “See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake.” A
short time later, he told reporters at the White house that the court
made a "political decision," and said his administration eventually
would win the case "very easily."
Opponents warn of 'chaos'
court arguments earlier this week, government attorney August Flentje
argued that Trump's executive order was within the powers granted to him
by Congress and the Constitution. In opposition, the solicitor general
of Washington state, Noah Purcell, said reinstating the travel ban
without a full judicial review would throw the country "back into
chaos," with families separated and travelers confused and wondering
whether they would be able to enter the country.
The University of Miami's Professor Abraham said it would be easier for
Trump to replace the executive orders rather than try to fix them.
“These orders are tainted beyond recognition and the administration has
already backed off substantial parts of them,” he said.
Trump’s original order was set to expire in 90 days, meaning it could
expire before the issues goes before the Supreme Court. Before then,
however, the administration could revise the scope of the order or its