Last week the 9th Circuit kept in place a nationwide Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on President Trump's controversial Executive Order on immigration, a broad order that in part includes banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and that would significantly affect certain families, students, teachers, people of the Muslim religion, people from certain parts of the world and people of varying immigration statuses. Here are the key, basic parts of the 9th Circuit's ruling:
1. The legal procedure of this case is extremely complicated, involving several different claims for relief (temporary and permanent) and levels of the federal court system. The 9th Circuit's ruling temporarily prevents the government from implementing the Order until the bigger, more conclusive legal battle is resolved. The Trump administration has an uphill battle, however, because the ruling is primarily based on the court's belief Trump will lose the bigger battle.
2. The court held that individual states had standing to sue over this Order, primarily because the Order has a substantial impact on the students and faculty of the states' universities.
3. One important issue was whether one federal district court could rule enforcement of a TRO upon the entire nation. Under these circumstances, the court held that to rule otherwise--to place the TRO in some parts of the country and not others--would cause too much confusion, disorganization and collusion.
4. In part, President Trump claimed the courts could not review his Order, arguing matters of foreign policy fall solely within the domain of the Executive Branch. The court correctly rejected this, stating while the court gives great deference to the President involving foreign affairs, such policies are not "unreviewable," especially when they involve substantial Constitutional issues and rights.
5. The court recognized the Constitution guarantees certain due process rights to everyone, including citizens, foreigners and even immigrants in the country illegally. With this in mind, the court found the Order was broad and vague enough to likely result in substantial Constitutional issues involving multiple classes of people.
6. The court would not rule whether the Order violated the Constitutional prohibition of any law establishing a religion. The court did, however, note 1. evidence of intent (i.e. a President's statements about implementing a "Muslim" ban) behind a law could be used to evaluate whether it violated the Constitution and 2. the States' claims against the Order presented "significant constitutional issues" to be considered at a later time.
7. The court found that while President Trump could not establish evidence that a TRO would result in irreparable harm--failing to show why the country won't simply return the "the nation temporarily to the position it has occupied for many previous years"--there was enough evidence to establish evidence that taking the TRO away would cause substantial harm to many.
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