Courts, International

Deja Vu: Fed Court Blocks Trump’s New Immigration Order

After President Trump signed his second executive order on immigration, all eyes have been on federal courts and whether this new order would be blocked as the previous order was.

That question was answered over the weekend when a federal judge in Wisconsin issued a restraining order.

Since the second order was specifically designed to get around the courts, this almost certainly sets up a new war with the judicial branch.

Here’s more from Breitbart

A second federal judge—this one in Wisconsin—on Friday blocked President Donald Trump’s new executive order (EO) on immigration travel, while the federal judge who blocked the first EO is reserving judgment on the revised EO.

Trump signed EO 13780 on Mar. 6, replacing his original order (EO 13769), temporarily restricting immigration from several terror-prone nations. Judge James Robart of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the first EO. The San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit kept the TRO in place.

Lawsuits have also been filed against the new EO 13780. The plaintiff states in the original TRO lawsuit—a growing list that currently includes Washington, Minnesota, and Oregon—asked Robart to rule that the TRO blocking EO 13769 likewise applies to the new EO. Robart released an order Friday stating that none of the parties have properly filed new motions in that litigation — and that he will reserve judgment until there is a relevant motion and the legal issues have been fully briefed before his court.

However, on that same day, Judge William Conley of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin did issue a new TRO against the new EO, holding that the plaintiff in that new lawsuit had a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, and would suffer irreparable harm unless the court provided immediate relief. This new lawsuit in Wisconsin concerns a man with a family member in Syria who has applied for asylum and claims that EO 13780 is thwarting that asylum request.

A TRO is a temporary emergency measure that typically lasts less than two weeks, only long enough to give a district court judge enough time to fully consider an urgent matter in a lawsuit. A TRO is only issued in extraordinary situations.

Conley has ordered legal briefs filed on an expedited basis for the next stage of litigation and will hold a court hearing on Mar. 21 on whether to convert the TRO into a preliminary injunction, a longer-term remedy that could stay in place for however long it takes to reach a final decision on the legality of EO 13780.

Although a TRO cannot be appealed, a preliminary injunction can, which could take either case quickly to the next level of the federal judiciary. The Washington case would go back to the Ninth Circuit, while the Wisconsin case would go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.

The first case is Washington v. Trump, No. 2:17-cv-141 in the Western District of Washington.

The second case is Doe v. Trump, No. 3:17-cv-112 in the Western District of Wisconsin.



4th Circuit Court: No Protection for Guns Deemed ‘Dangerous’

Lower federal courts continued their steamrolling of the Second Amendment this week in a decision that should put fear into the hearts of all law-abiding gun owners.

In what will almost certainly become a dangerous precedent, the judges ruled that guns the court arbitrarily deems ‘dangerous’ do not qualify for Second Amendment protection.

Here’s more from NRA-ILA

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinions in Heller and McDonald, many of the lower U.S. courts have been making up their own rules when it comes to the Second Amendment. Tuesday’s outrageous opinion by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Kolbe v. Hogan is yet another example of this. In that case, nine of out fourteen judges ruled that America’s most popular types of rifles, banned in the state of Maryland, have no Second Amendment protection.

The Court called the banned firearms – which include AR-15s and most magazine-fed semi-automatic rifles – “exceptionally lethal weapons of war.” It compared them to the M16, which the court claimed made them categorically unprotected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Heller. The Court called the difference between a machine gun and a semi-automatic “slight”, despite the substantial differences in function and form, so much so that the federal law regulates each in highly dissimilar ways.

And in doing so, the judges joining the majority opinion actually said that they do not consider themselves bound by the Supreme Court’s majority decision in Heller (to say nothing of their sworn oath to uphold the Constitution).

Heller, of course, concerned the most demonstrably lethal and crime-associated of all firearms: the handgun. Handguns are implicated in more deaths, and more firearm-related crimes, than all other types of firearms combined … by a very large margin. This was extensively briefed for the Supreme Court during the Heller proceedings, and no one contested that argument.

Moreover, the majority opinion in Heller did not shrink from these facts. The opinion’s author, Justice Scalia, put it very plainly: “We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution.” He continued: “But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.”



Leak: Cruz Predicts Another Supreme Court Vacancy Soon

During the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz make a startling prediction that took everyone by surprise.

He revealed, “I think we’ll have another Supreme Court vacancy this summer.”

The question on everyone’s mind is whether he has inside information. And if so, who will be retiring?

It would almost certainly be a liberal.

Here’s more from Redstate

Ted Cruz has befuddled the masses today with a quote that is striking a lot of people as either odd, prescient, or indicative that The Zodiac will strike again (It’s me. I think that.). He says that there’s going to be another vacancy on the Supreme Court soon.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) made a pretty odd prediction Thursday: He said he believed there would be a Supreme Court vacancy shortly after Neil Gorsuch’s likely confirmation to fill the existing one.

“I think we’ll have another Supreme Court vacancy this summer,” Cruz said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “If that happens, as much as the left is crazy now, [Democrats] will go full Armageddon.”

There are plenty of theories in the Washington Post piece this excerpt comes from, but Aaron Blake of The Fix seems to think it would be irresponsible to suggest that The Zodiac Killer will re-emerge and somehow pave the way for Ted Cruz – who is totally not The Zodiac, you guys – to be nominated to the highest court.

I am not so burdened with journalistic “responsibility.”

…Okay, fine, no, I don’t think Cruz is going to knock off Ruth Bader Ginsberg to open up a seat. What’s actually going on is that there have been rumblings that Anthony Kennedy is considering retirement. These rumors have persisted for a while now, and with the legacy he’s racked up in SCOTUS – the Affordable Care Act, gay marriage, etc. – now would be a great time to step aside before Donald Trump comes in and mucks everything up.

People have also speculated that Ginsberg is getting up there in years, and because of that, and the fact that State of the Union Addresses happen past her bedtime, she might not make it Trump’s full term.



9th Circuit Halts Immigration Case, Waits for New Trump Ban

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to honor a request by the U.S. Justice Department for a stay on further action in the courts on the case concerning President Trump’s refugee ban.

The request came after Trump announced he’ll be issuing a new ban designed to circumvent the courts which should make the first one moot.

Or it could inflame the war.

Here’s more from Breitbart

Late Thursday night the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered that it was staying further proceedings in the appeal of the Seattle-based district court that blocked President Trump’s immigration executive order (EO).

When the states of Washington and Minnesota sued, Judge James Robart of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) of Trump’s EO 13,769 in Washington v. Trump, which temporarily restricted travel from seven terror-prone countries.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit affirmed, ignoring arguments that federal courts lacked jurisdiction to hear a case over an EO, that states lack standing to sue on behalf of their residents and organizations, and that courts should defer to Congress and the president on immigration and national security disputes.

The appeals court was voting internally this week on whether to rehear the case en banc, meaning that an 11-judge panel would reconsider the case. Given the heavy liberal balance of the San Francisco-based appeals court, the same eventual outcome was likely.

The U.S. Department of Justice asked the appeals court on Thursday to stay any further proceedings in the case, citing Trump’s announcement during a press conference earlier that day that he would issue a new EO during the week of Feb. 19.

Chief Judge Sidney Thomas of the Ninth Circuit issued an order for the court granting that stay, noting that Justice Department lawyers have told the court they will promptly inform the judges of new developments expected in the coming days.



Trey Gowdy Demolishes The 9th Circuit Court Over Executive Order Ruling

The fury over the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is only just getting started. Now Congressman Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor, has weighed in on the matter.

And he eviscerates the liberal justices on the court. His concluding line is gold: “There is a reason we elect the Commander in Chief and do not elect federal judges.”

Here’s more from DC Statesman

It seems their opinion was based more on politics than the Constitution. So it seems appropriate to highlight an incredible statement issued by a Constitution hawk like Rep. Trey Gowdy.

Gowdy released this statement:

“No one familiar with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals should be surprised at today’s ruling. The 9th Circuit has a well-earned reputation for being presumptively reversible. Unlike the district court order, there is at least a court opinion which can be evaluated.

Of particular interest is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ suggestion that even those unlawfully present in the country have certain due process rights with respect to immigration. The Court cites Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678, 695 (2001) for the proposition that even aliens who have committed and been convicted of certain crimes while in the U.S. unlawfully may have due process rights with respect to travel to or from the United States. In addition, the Court ventures curiously into its own role in reviewing a President’s national security conclusions.

Legal permanent residents, non-citizens with current valid visas, non-citizens with expired visas (which were once valid), aliens with no legal standing, aliens who have committed a crime but have not yet been deported and aliens who are not even present in the United States but seek to come are just a few of the categories the Supreme Court will need to determine what process is due, if any. 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. 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. There is a reason we elect the Commander in Chief and do not elect federal judges.



Leftwing 9th Circuit Court Blocks Trump Exec Order

The notoriously left-wing 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the lower court ruling in rejecting President Trump’s appeal of the block on his refugee ban.

The decision sets up an almost certain collision court at the Supreme Court. And now the result could come down to whether the Senate confirms Judge Gorsuch in time to vote.

Here’s more from Breitbart:

San Francisco’s federal appeals court asserted a novel theory on Thursday to claim jurisdiction over the legal challenge to Executive Order 13769, affirming the lower court’s order halting President Trump’s temporary travel-restriction policy.
Federal appeals courts lack jurisdiction to review a district court’s temporary restraining order (TRO), which is a stop-gap measure that lasts for 14 days or less (unless extended) in extreme circumstances when a court does not even have the time to hold expedited hearings on the legal merits of a lawsuit. Judge James Robart from the Western District of Washington issued a TRO to block President Trump’s executive order.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit claimed jurisdiction anyway, reasoning that although the district court explicitly held that its TRO was not a preliminary injunction (which, unlike a TRO, can be reviewed by an appeals court):

In light of the unusual circumstances of this case, in which the Government has argued that emergency relief is necessary to support its efforts to prevent terrorism, we believe that this period is long enough that the TRO should be considered to have the qualities of a reviewable preliminary injunction.

The Ninth Circuit went on to reject several of the tenuous theories the states of Washington and Minnesota asserted to claim standing to bring this lawsuit. Nonetheless, a three-judge panel of the court adopted one of the novel theories asserted by the state, holding that, “as the operators of state universities, the States may assert not only their own rights to the extent affected by the Executive Order but may also assert the rights of their students and faculty members.” Some of those students are effected by the immigration order.

President Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) argued that Congress has plenary authority over all immigration decisions, and that Congress had delegated complete discretion to the president in 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) to make such decisions, especially when national security was at stake.



Pence: Gorsuch Will Join Supreme Court ‘One Way or the Other’

The Trump administration has been blazing trails to make it abundantly clear: it’s our way or the highway.

Now Vice President Pence is joining the fun with a promise that the administration will force the Gorsuch nomination through the Senate, not matter what. And now major war is about to break out.

Here’s more from Newsmax:

Vice President Mike Pence is pledging that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch will be seated on the high court “one way or the other.”

Pence’s comments during a speech in Philadelphia to the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, echoed President Donald Trump’s comments from earlier in the week. Trump urged the Senate’s Republican leader to scrap longstanding rules and “go nuclear” if Democrats block Gorsuch.

Trump on Tuesday nominated the 49-year-old Gorsuch — a Denver-based U.S. appellate court judge — to a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court.

Pence says the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death belongs to the American people.

“This seat does not belong to any party or any ideology or any interest group, this seat on the Supreme Court belongs to the American people, and the American people deserve a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” Pence said.



White House Vows ‘Emergency Stay’ of Judicial Order Thwarting President’s Immigration Order

President Trump is pressing his Department of Justice to file immediate action with appellate courts to issue an immediate stay on the block by a federal judge yesterday. It’s going to be a fight to the finish.

Here’s more from Breitbart:

The White House issued a statement vowing to file for an emergency stay of a federal judge’s order to block President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration and refugees from high risk countries from the Middle East.
“At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate,” read a statement from Sean Spicer to reporters.

The statement explained that Trump’s order was issued under his constitutional authority to protect the American people.

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart took the unusual step of issuing a emergency stay of Trump’s order as the attorneys general of Washington and Minnesota filed a lawsuit to overturn the legislation.

The plaintiffs argue that Trump’s order violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law, including what they say is discrimination against a particular religion.

But Trump defied the order, sending a message on Twitter on Saturday.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” he wrote.



Trump Tweet-Slams ‘So-Called’ Federal Judge

President Trump fired off a series of tweets in response to a federal judge’s order on Friday blocking Trump’s ban on refugees. He then promised swift action on reversing the order.

And now there’s a full-blown war between the courts and the White House.

Here’s more from Newsmax:

In a series of angry early-morning tweets, President Donald Trump on Saturday slammed a judge’s decision to put on hold his week-old executive order preventing refugees and travelers from seven Middle East countries from coming into the United States.

Trump insisted that the “ridiculous” decision of the “so-called judge” in the case will be overturned.

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On Friday, federal judge James Robart in Seattle put a nationwide block on Trump’s order for the temporary ban. The White House responded that it believes Trump’s order to be “lawful and appropriate” and that the Department of Justice will file an emergency appeal in the matter.

Hours after Robart’s ruling, however, airlines were being told by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials that they could allow travelers from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen to board travelers affected by the ban.

Robart was appointed to the bench in the Western District of Washington by President George W. Bush in December 2003, taking the judge’s seat the following year. On Friday, he made his ruling apply nationwide; other judges issued orders concerning only specific travelers, not a blanket ruling concerning all.



Is Judge Thomas Hardiman Next in Line for SCOTUS?

With the fight over the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court coming to a boil, some are already discussing the next fight that will come over the Court should Donald Trump have the opportunity in the next four years to nominate yet another judge.

Here’s more from Newsmax:

Now that the nomination to replace Antonin Scalia has been settled — Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch landed the role — there is speculation that Judge Thomas Hardiman will be tapped as the next nominee in the event a selection is necessary.

Given the substantive backing that Judge Hardiman (of the 3rd Circuit) received from conservatives that helped make him a finalist to Gorsuch, there is already mounting speculation he will be on deck for the White House if Justice Anthony Kennedy, 80, decides to retire at the end of the court’s term this year.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer insisted that he didn’t “want to get in front of the president. [But Hardiman] continues to have the president’s support; somebody who the president was unbelievably impressed with. So we’ll have to see what vacancies come down the pike.”

“He’s an impressive, impressive jurist,” Spicer told me on Wednesday. “Obviously the four that really made that final list for the president were impressive [along with Gorsuch and Hardiman, the final four for Trump to consider included Appellate Judges Bill Pryor of Alabama and Wisconsin’s Diane Sykes].”

Hours before Trump made the Gorsuch announcement on Tuesday night, we spoke to former Pennsylvania Senator and past Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum about his vigorous support of Hardiman for the high court.

“I spoke to President Trump back in December, before he even took office about Tom,” Santorum said. “And I spoke to Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, and [Trump political operative] Dave Bossie.”