National Stay of Muslim Ban Upheld in Unanimous Court Decision
On Thursday February 9th the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in which they refused to reinstate the administrations Muslim travel ban whose enforcement had been put on hold nationally by a lower court.
This decision is highly significant for several reasons. First in the actually decision itself the judges of the 9th Circuit described in detail what they saw as major constitutional flaws with the administrations executive order and particularly focused on the lack of due process afforded to the affected individuals. The decision also touched on a number of other objections to the order which the court felt that the government had not adequately addressed, such as the violation of the 1st amendment, but which the court did go into great detail on. This decision indicates that the court is highly skeptical of the government’s case and explicitly rejected the government’s argument that national security concerns take precedence over all other issues. It is also highly significant that the decision was unanimous as the panel was ideologically divided and normally controversial cases like this result in split decisions.
The administration has indicated that they will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court but it is unclear if the Supreme Court would actually be able to come to a decision on this matter given its current four-four split. It seems unlikely, but possible, that the court would take on the case and then wait until the confirmation of the administration’s Supreme Court pick to actually hear and rule on it. It should be noted that this decision does not actually decide the full merits of whether the executive order was constitutional or not, which is still being litigated, only whether the order should be enforced during this litigation.
What this means at a practical level is that if you are citizen of one of the affected countries you can still travel to the United States so long as you have a valid visa or green card. Similarly, you can still apply for a visa if you are from one of these countries. That said you should still be extremely careful about any travel plans you make and if you are traveling to the United States be sure to make sure that a friend or family member knows about your travel arrangements and is there to meet you at the airport. Also again use caution in which port of entry you elect to fly into, currently all ports of entry are officially obeying the court order staying the executive order however there remain numerous accounts of harassment and denial of entry which still seem to be occurring with Dulles still being a particular problem area. Be sure to check the news for the latest updates before scheduling your trip.
We will continue to monitor and update our blog with additional information as this case develops.