The three judges ruled unanimously to uphold the suspension. The decision represents a substantial pushback against the executive branch. The restraining order filed against Trump's policy will remain in place.
The federal government failed to demonstrate during its appeal that it had sufficient merit for its case, according to the ruling. "We hold that the Government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal," the judges wrote. "Nor," the judges continued, "has it shown that the failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury." A 'stay' is what Justice Department lawyers asked the courts to use in order to uphold the executive order.
Trump's order led to protests in the US and worldwide, especially at major airports. According to the new ruling, immigrants or nonimmigrants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen are no longer suspended from entering the US. The Trump administration had said people entering America from these nations would be "detrimental" to US interests.
President Trump went to his favorite platform just minutes following the announcement. In all capitals, Trump wrote "SEE YOU IN COURT," pointing to the likely scenario that this case will be heard before the Supreme Court.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
Mirroring Trump, the Washington Attorney General's office tweeted a response in all capitals:
— WA Attorney General (@AGOWA) February 9, 2017
The judges considered "whether the Government has shown that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal," in addition to "the public interest in granting or denying a stay."
The Trump administration can request a stay from the Supreme Court, and "that application for a stay could be filed quickly--even tonight," Ian Samuel, a Harvard Law lecturer, tweeted.
— Ian Samuel 🌹 (@isamuel) February 9, 2017
On Tuesday, the Justice Department argued before judges for the reinstatement of the ban, in which the court allocated the plaintiff and defendant each 30 minutes to present oral arguments.
“Congress has expressly authorized the president to suspend entry of categories of aliens,” the Justice Department’s legal counsel argued, adding that determining the entry and exit of individuals into the nation is a “fundamental sovereignty.” At one point the attorney arguing on behalf of Trump acknowledged, ”I’m not sure I’m convincing the court.”
The plaintiffs said the President was asking the court to “abdicate” its role as a check on “executive abuses.”
“The court should deny that invitation,” the ban’s opponents declared.
The live audio recording of the hearings drew a crowd of at least 150,000 people, according to the Des Moines Register.
The order had been overturned by a President George W. Bush appointee in the state of Washington, prompting Trump to fire off a tweet in which he questioned the legitimacy of the judge’s decision, referring to the magistrate as a “so-called” judge.
The verbal assault was perceived as a jab against the judicial arm of the government. In response, Trump’s own pick to fill the empty Supreme Court Justice seat, Neil Gorsuch, called the President’s comments “demoralizing” and “disheartening,” in a private chat with Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. A spokesman for Gorsuch confirmed the legitimacy of the comments.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must sway a few moderate Democrats to secure the 60 votes needed for Gorsuch’s appointment to the bench. Democratic Senators, including Blumenthal, have expressed concerns over whether Gorsuch would be willing to defy Trump in the interest of preserving the doctrine of separation of powers.