Judge denies DOJ request to postpone travel ban hearing

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(CBS) — The Justice Department’s request for a delay in action on the lower court case contesting the merits of President Trump’s travel ban has been shot down by the Seattle federal court.

The Washington State Attorney General’s office confirms to CBS News that District Judge Robart rules the travel ban case can proceed on the merits in his court. That means the two sides will begin submitting briefs and arguments on the issue of whether this policy is actually Constitutional.

In a memo filed Monday afternoon regarding the legal fight over President Trump’s travel ban, the Justice Department had informed the court that it wanted to postpone any further action at the District Court level until the 9th Circuit decides whether it will hear the case en banc. 

That would involve another 9th Circuit hearing with 11 randomly selected judges, instead of just the three who ruled last week not to stay the suspension of the travel ban. The president’s ban targeted seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.

Late Friday, the court said that a judge on the 9th Circuit had requested that the case be reconsidered by an en banc panel. It will be about another week before the 9th Circuit decides whether to grant the en banc hearing.

The court tells CBS News en banc requests are common at the 9th Circuit: about 1,500 requests were filed last year, but only 50 en banc votes were granted by the judge. On average, the court hears 15-25 (about half) of those a year.

At the same time, the state of Washington also filed a memo — but it made the opposite request. According to its memo, Washington asked that the “case on the merits should proceed promptly.”

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