By Seung Min Kim
February 9, 2017
Congressional Democrats pounced on a Thursday court ruling that will keep President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration executive order on ice — by renewing their demands that the president kill the ban altogether.
Seizing on the court victory, Democrats pressed Trump to scuttle his ban on citizens from seven largely Muslim nations and refugees worldwide — which stoked chaos at airports and raised concerns from Capitol Hill about how the Trump administration constructed the complicated directive.
"President Trump ought to see the handwriting on the wall that his executive order is unconstitutional,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “He should abandon this proposal, roll up his sleeves and come up with a real, bipartisan plan to keep us safe.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, also called on Trump to withdraw the Jan. 27 executive order.
“If the president were serious about bringing our country together and keeping us safe, he would rescind this arbitrary and discriminatory order and recall what makes our country great,” Leahy said. “Immigrants and refugees have enriched our country since its founding.”
Republicans were largely reluctant on Thursday night to weigh in on the unanimous decision from a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Trump’s order may deprive immigrants of key constitutional rights without providing due process.
But the few GOP lawmakers who did weigh in noted that the 9th Circuit, based in San Francisco, has the highest rate of reversed rulings of any of the federal appellate courts, and remained confident that the administration would ultimately win at the nation’s highest court.
“No foreigner has a constitutional right to enter the United States and courts ought not second-guess sensitive national-security decisions of the president,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said in defending Trump’s travel ban. “This misguided ruling is from the 9th Circuit, the most notoriously left-wing court in America and the most reversed court at the Supreme Court.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), largely echoed Cotton’s views.
“It seems clear to most of us — not on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals — there is no right to come to this country for non-citizens of the United States,” Gowdy said in a statement. “It also seems clear judges are neither in a position, practically or jurisprudentially, to second guess national security determinations made by the commander-in-chief.”
Still, the court decision upholding the current nationwide injunction against Trump was a clear boost for Democrats, who had been persistently decrying Trump’s expansive executive order.
Thursday’s decision is also likely to put a continued spotlight on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, whose independence from Trump has been a major question mark for Democrats who’ve expressed concerns about whether the judge could be a sufficient check on Trump’s power.
Even if Gorsuch were confirmed under the most optimistic of timelines, he would not be seated at the Supreme Court in time to hear arguments if the administration did appeal Thursday’s decision from the 9th Circuit. That, and determining whether to grant certiorari, would take less than a month, said Josh Blackman, an associate professor of law at the South Texas College of Law.
Senate GOP leaders have said they want Gorsuch confirmed by mid-April. Gorsuch could be conceivably seated to hear the case in some fashion, if the district court took up the merits of the case and that made its way to the Supreme Court.
“I don’t know the decision itself means anything for Gorsuch,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) told reporters on Thursday night after the 9th Circuit decision. “For Gorsuch, however, the broader question of judicial independence is a critical one.”
As of Thursday night, the Justice Department was noncommittal on whether the Trump administration would seek to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. But Menendez speculated that if the emergency stay does head to the Supreme Court, the outcome may not change from the decision issued Thursday.
“I can’t imagine, after a unanimous decision, that they’re willing to overturn the stay,” Menendez said.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com