- The Washington Times - Monday, February 13, 2017

The Justice Department has asked a Seattle-based federal judge to hold off any proceedings regarding President Trump’s executive order on travel and refugees while the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether to reconsider the case en banc.

A panel of three judges from the 9th Circuit last week upheld a restraining order that blocks most travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations — Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Yemen — until stronger vetting could be implemented, indefinitely halted the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S., and blocked other refugees for 120 days. The 9th Circuit has since requested that the entire court vote on whether to grant an en banc review of the panel’s decision.

Documents filed Monday in the pending case before District Judge James L. Robart, who originally issued the stay upheld but he appellate court, state that DOJ lawyers are hoping to put off any briefings until after the entire 9th Circuit decides whether or not to take up the case.

“Further proceedings in the Ninth Circuit will likely inform what additional proceedings on a preliminary injunction motion are necessary in district court,” Justice Department attorneys wrote in the document filed Monday. “Accordingly, at this time, defendants believe the appropriate course is to postpone any further proceedings in the district court.”

The Trump administration has signaled that officials were keeping their options open as far as a response to the appeals court decision — with potential actions ranging from an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court to a rewrite of the executive order in question.

Both the DOJ and the Washington state attorney general, who brought the lawsuit challenging the travel ban, are expected to file briefs by Thursday outlining their arguments as to whether an en banc review of the temporary restraining order is appropriate. The Justice Department asked Monday that Judge Robart allow it to file a status report within two days of the 9th Circuit’s decision on whether the full court will hear arguments on the temporary stay of the executive order.

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