- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2017

The full U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals will consider hearing arguments on the Trump administration’s revised executive order on travel and refugees, potentially fast tracking the appeals process.

An order filed Monday for the court asks the Trump administration and the organization challenging the order to file briefs by Thursday “stating their position on the appropriateness of initial en banc review in this case.”

The typical next step in an appeal would be for a random three-judge panel from the 4th Circuit to hear arguments in the case. But if an en banc hearing is granted, the panel would be skipped and all 15 active judges on the 4th Circuit would consider the case.

The appeal stems from a ruling handed down earlier this month by a federal judge in Maryland, that blocked enforcement of a key portion of President Trump’s revised order on travel from going into effect. The International Refugee Assistance Project brought the claim and the Justice Department has appealed.

A different ruling, issued hours earlier by a federal judge in Hawaii, has blocked a broader portion of the policy from taking effect. The Hawaii judge’s temporary restraining order enjoining enforcement of the policy is set to expire Thursday, but a hearing on whether to extend the restraining order is scheduled for Wednesday.

The revised order would temporarily ban travel to the U.S. by foreign nationals from six majority-Muslim countries and put on hold all resettlement of refugees in the U.S.

The appeal of the Maryland ruling is currently scheduled for May 8.

The 15 active judges on the 4th Circuit include six appointees of President Obama, four appointees of President George W. Bush, three appointees of President Clinton, one appointee of President George H. W. Bush, and one appointee of President Reagan.

The 4th Circuit’s interest in hearing an appeal of the Maryland ruling en banc comes after a Virginia-based federal judge on Friday upheld the Trump administration’s travel ban. U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga found that substantial revisions made to the original version of the travel ban undercut challengers allegations that the policy was meant to discriminate against Muslims.

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