SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Arguments over President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration have concluded in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The final minutes of the hearing were largely devoted to whether the travel ban was intended to discriminate against Muslims. Judge Richard Clifton wanted to know how the order could be considered discriminatory if it potentially affected only 15 percent of the world’s Muslims, according to his calculations.
In response, Washington state Solicitor General Noah Purcell argued that it’s remarkable to have this much evidence of discriminatory intent this early in the case. He mentioned Trump’s campaign statements about a Muslim ban and public statements from adviser Rudy Giuliani that he was asked to help devise a legal version of the Muslim ban.
A Justice Department lawyer argued that the courts shouldn’t question the president’s authority over national security based on newspaper articles. But under questioning from Clifton he conceded that he doesn’t dispute that the statements were made.
The judges were hearing from the U.S. government and several states that oppose the ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
A court spokesman says it was unlikely that the court would issue a ruling Tuesday.
A federal judge temporarily blocked Trump’s order last week. Washington state, Minnesota and other states say the appeals court should allow the temporary restraining order to stand as their lawsuit moves through the legal system.
The government is asking the court to restore Trump’s executive order, contending that the president alone has the power to decide who can enter or stay in the United States.