Where President Trump's travel ban stands

Iraqi family who were prevented from boarding a plane to the United States board a new flight to New York's JFK airport after a Seattle judge blocks Trumps' ban.
A fast-moving legal fight over President Donald Trump's targeted travel ban is now with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
A fast-moving legal fight over President Donald Trump's targeted travel ban is now with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - A fast-moving legal fight over President Donald Trump's targeted travel ban is now with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Here is a look at where things stand.

What does the Trump administration want?

Lawyers for the federal government asked the appeals court to stay a temporary restraining order issued on Friday, Feb 3, by Judge James Robart of the US District Court in Seattle. Judge Robart was appointed by President George W. Bush.

Acting on a request from Washington and Minnesota, Judge Robart temporarily banned the administration from enforcing two parts of Mr Trump's order: its 90-day suspension of entry into the United States of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and its limits on accepting refugees, including "any action that prioritises the refugee claims of certain religious minorities."

His order allowed people from the seven countries who had been authorised to travel, along with vetted refugees from all nations, to enter the country.

What does the administration argue?

In its brief, the administration said that Judge Robart had "improperly second-guessed the president's national security determinations." The brief said the president had vast power over immigration under the Constitution and federal law.

What did the appeals court do?

The court declined to issue an immediate administrative stay, but it said it would consider the federal government's emergency motion for a stay after receiving more briefs. The court set a very fast briefing schedule, asking the states to respond by midnight Sunday Pacific time, with the federal government to file a second brief by 3 pm on Monday (9am Tuesday Jan 7, Singapore time).

How fast will the appeals court act?

There is every indication that the court will act promptly.

Who are the appeals court judges?

The appeals court's order was issued by Judge William C. Canby Jr., who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, and Judge Michelle T. Friedland, who was appointed by President Barack Obama. They are two of the three 9th Circuit judges designated to hear motions in February. The third, Judge Richard R. Clifton, was appointed by Mr Bush.

Will the appeals court hear oral arguments?

Motions for stays are typically decided based on paper filings.

Will the case reach the Supreme Court?

Almost certainly. The losing side will very likely ask the justices to review the appeals court's ruling on the emergency stay.

The ultimate decision on whether the executive order is lawful will not come quickly. That means people seeking to travel or settle here may be whipsawed until the case is finally resolved.