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By Kevin Daley
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals appeared to struggle over the legality of President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on refugee and migrant entry during a hearing Monday.
A three-judge panel in Seattle heard arguments over U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson’s March order that temporarily bars enforcement of two aspects of the directive — one that suspends the refugee resettlement program and another that blocks travel from six countries with high instances of terror. Both provisions are now temporarily stayed pending further proceedings. The order applies nation-wide.
Monday’s panel including Judges Ronald Gould, Michael Hawkins, and Richard Paez. All three are Clinton appointees. The argument featured appearances by two of the best appellate advocates in the country. Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall defended the order for the government, while Neal Katyal, chair of the appeals practice at Hogan Lovells argued on behalf of a group of states challenging the order’s legality.
Though the outcome is far from clear, Monday’s arguments were the most favorable hearing the order has yet received in a federal appeals court. All three judges asked difficult questions of Katyal, and at times appeared sympathetic to arguments Wall advanced.