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Hawaii’s Lawsuit against Trumps Newly Revised Executive Order May Be Heard By An 11- Judge Panel

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The state of Hawaii has requested an 11-judge panel within the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to consider whether to lift a hold on President Trump’s revised travel ban. The appeals court is considering the recent ruling by a federal district judge in Hawaii barring nationwide enforcement of Trump’s revised executive order, which imposed a temporary travel ban on nationals of 6 Muslim countries and halted resettlement of refugees for 120 days. The federal district judge had found that Trump’s order was motivated by prejudice against Muslims, a First Amendment violation. Specifically, the judge concluded, based on the historical context of the travel ban and public statements made by the president, that “a reasonable, objective observer … would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion[.]”

Normally, an appeal first goes to a three-judge panel. But Hawaii’s request followed a decision by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a similar hold “en banc” instead of before three judges. The Fourth Circuit plans to consider Trump’s order on May 8, marking the Fourth Circuit’s first initial “en banc” hearing in recent memory. The Ninth Circuit has scheduled a hearing on the Hawaii case for May 15 in Seattle.

It is therefore clear that the federal appellate courts consider the issue at hand to be “exceptionally important” and worthy of initial en-banc review.

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