Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell.
Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Judges hear Trump's travel ban appeal

IN THE first major legal test of the new administration, attorneys argued over President Trump's travel ban earlier this week on on whether to restore the refugee and visa ban against seven majority Muslim countries.

The president's order banned travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. However, Syrian refugees would be barred indefinitely.

Three appellate judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco considered the fate of Trump's temporary travel ban, four days after it was blocked by a federal judge in Seattle.

The three judges presiding over the case are William C. Canby Jr, who was appointed by president Jimmy Carter; Judge Richard Clifton, who was appointed by president George W. Bush; and Judge Michelle Taryn Friedland who was appointed by president Barack Obama.

In one exchange, Judge Friedland asked Justice Department lawyer August Flentje if the government could provide any evidence connecting the seven banned countries to terrorism.

He responded by saying, "these proceedings have been moving very fast”.

Before the hearing, President Trump said he hoped the case would go on to the Supreme Court while he argued that the order was important for the country. Halfway through the arguments, more than 120,000 viewers listened via the court's official YouTube page.

Washington State Solicitor General Noah Purcell argued on behalf of Washington state that the motion would throw the country into chaos.

"The executive order itself caused irreparable harm to our state and its people,” he argued. "We had long-time residents who couldn't travel without knowing if they can return.”

The states of Washington and Minnesota brought the case against the Trump administration, which would likely reach the US Supreme Court.


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