Federal court’s heel-dragging looks like judicial sabotage of Trump’s travel restrictions

Federal court’s heel-dragging looks like judicial sabotage of Trump’s travel restrictions
4th Circuit Court of Appeals; Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Courthouse, Richmond, VA. (Image: Wikipedia - By Acroterion - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link)

As time progresses, it appears the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is intentionally undermining President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

As The Daily Caller News Foundation noted on Jan. 6, the 4th Circuit appears to be strategically withholding its opinion on the administration’s latest round of travel sanctions, despite a Dec. 4  Supreme Court order requiring the court to produce its ruling “with appropriate dispatch.”

Such language, unusual for a Supreme Court order, indicates the justices want to review the case themselves and issue a ruling on the merits before the current term ends in June.

Time is running out, however, for the justices to take cases for disposition before the summer — late January is generally the latest the Court can take a case for resolution before the end of a particular term. Therefore, the longer the 4th Circuit strategically holds its ruling on the travel ban, the more likely it is their ruling will escape Supreme Court review for the foreseeable future, essentially blocking the policy until the justices return for their next term in October, if not later.

As of this writing, the Supreme Court will announce cases it will review on two more occasions this month. After that, historical measures suggest it is unlikely the Court will take further cases for its current term.

Given both the condensed timeframe and the amount of time the 4th Circuit has let elapse, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the court is intentionally delaying release of their ruling, in hopes they can stop the travel ban and evade the high court until much later in the year, unless the justices stay the decision. Such stays are uncommon.

The court’s conduct is especially odd as another federal appeals court — the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — took heed of the Supreme Court’s Dec. 4 order and produced its opinion in separate travel ban litigation in late December.

The 4th Circuit barred enforcement of an earlier iteration of the travel ban on a 10-3 vote.

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This report, by Kevin Daley, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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LU Staff

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