Ninth Circuit Deliberates Appeal Over Trump Executive Order

200px-US-CourtOfAppeals-9thCircuit-Seal.svgdepartment-of-justice-logo1

I previously discussed my surprise over the clumsy performance of the Justice Department in defending the Trump executive order on immigration.  Those concerns were magnified after the oral argument before the Ninth Circuit that was made available on YouTube.  The performance by August Flentje, special counsel to the assistant U.S. attorney general, was surprisingly lackluster and seemingly ill-prepared.  The shaky start that I described earlier seems now to be seismic as the Justice Department stumbles toward a ruling that can come as early as today.  As Flentje observed during his uninspired argument “I’m not sure I’m convincing the court.”

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Ninth Circuit Schedules Oral Argument On The Trump Immigration Order

200px-US-CourtOfAppeals-9thCircuit-Seal.svgdepartment-of-justice-logo1 The government filed its reply on February 6th and followed earlier arguments in favor of an appellate stay of the lower court order of Senior District Court Judge James Robart.  As discussed earlier, a temporary restraining order is very difficult to reverse on an interlocutory appeal.  Normally, appellate courts will wait for a final decision and opinion from the lower court before agreeing to review the controversy.  Of course, nothing is “normal” about this controversy in terms of procedure or policy.

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Ninth Circuit Briefing Completed Today For Ruling On Trump Appeal

200px-US-CourtOfAppeals-9thCircuit-Seal.svgdepartment-of-justice-logo1 The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will have a completed record for its review of the lower court’s stay of the Trump immigration executive order this afternoon. While much has been made of the court declined to issue an immediate stay of the lower court under the earlier emergency motion, the decision was very predictable. The Court instead ordered for an expedited response from the states of Washington and Minnesota. That argument is complete today. What remains is a relatively rare procedural process in seeking to review a temporary restraining order (TRO) before the issuance of a written opinion, let alone a permanent injunction.

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The Superbowl Ad You Will Not Be Seeing Today [Updated]

screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-11-02-32-am84 Lumber is a building materials supply company that is the latest to trigger a Superbowl advertisement  controversy over an ad.  We have previously discussed how groups like PETA often seems to engineer conflicts (and rejections) to get more attention than would have been generated by a commercial itself.  Whatever the motivation, 84 Lumber has garnered massive attention after its commercial “The Journey Begins” was rejected by Fox as too political and divisive.  With some 47 percent of the public supporting the Trump executive order, it is a risky move that the attention could create as much anger as support among potential customers.  Regrettably, I will be on a flight to Guam (which takes off at the time of the kickoff).  I will try to get the game on the flight but I enjoy having a Superbowl party with the kids. We enjoy the commercials often as much as the game.  The company said that it was censored but allowed to run an altered commercial.  Maggie Hardy Magerko, 84 Lumber’s president and owner, is quoted as saying “I still can’t even understand why it was censored. In fact, I’m flabbergasted by that in today’s day and age. It’s not pornographic, it’s not immoral, it’s not racist.”

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Ninth Circuit Rejects Motion For Immediate Reinstatement Of Executive Order But Schedules Expedited Argument For Monday

200px-US-CourtOfAppeals-9thCircuit-Seal.svgdepartment-of-justice-logo1 The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has declined a demand for an immediate reinstatement of the Executive Order on immigration but has scheduled expedited arguments and filings in the case for Monday.  The decision is not surprising in such a case.  Courts need to hear from the other side in the dispute, particularly when the Washington Attorney General prevailed in the trial court.  Moreover, a temporary restraining order is very difficult to reverse on an interlocutory appeal.  Normally, appellate courts will wait for a final decision and opinion from the lower court before agreeing to review the controversy.  Of course, nothing is “normal” about this controversy in terms of procedure or policy.  With a major executive order stayed, the Ninth Circuit is clearly moving with dispatch but deliberation.  The Justice Department team was not helped by President Trump’s tweets casting aspersations on Judge James Robart of Federal District Court in Seattle as a “so called judge.”   Such comments undermine the credibility of the claims. It is less compelling to demand respect for the executive branch if you are viewed as denigrating the judicial branch.  While there is ample reason to question the ruling of Judge Robart, but he is a respected judge who made a good-faith decision on a tough legal question.   He is not a “so-called judge” but a real judge and has the Senate confirmation to prove it.  Having said that, media playing up the “rejection” by the Ninth Circuit are not being entirely accurate.  The Ninth Circuit wants more argument and has not reached the merits.  There is still question whether it will reach the merits on a TRO appeal.  I still believe that President Trump has the advantage legally and we could see this order stayed.  The question is when and how since this remains a temporary restraining order without a written opinion from Judge Robart.

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Cleric: Killing Kurds Who Convert To Zoroastrianism Is “Legitimate”

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Mulla Hassib
Mulla Hassib

In another example of attempts to legitimize murder for apostasy, an Islamist Cleric of the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) declared in an interview with the BBC that Kurds who leave Islam to convert to Zoroastrianism are to be murdered; or in his words “Killed and Executed.”

The cleric extended his hand of mercy by allowing those converts three days to regret their decision but thereafter are to be executed.

In an almost brutal irony, Mulla Hassib from Sulaimani said that Islamic religious tenets permit such executions, but ISIS’ practice of killing apostates is partially correct but he criticizes the terrorist organization for spreading the religion by means of “violence”.

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