It doesn’t look like the Supreme Court will be hearing an appeal to Washington state’s hold on President Donald Trump’s immigration ban anytime soon.
In a filing before U.S. District Judge James Robart on Monday, the Department of Justice said it will hold off on litigation in other courts until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determines whether it will hear the appeal. Robart is the Seattle judge who initially issued the nationwide restraining order halting Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Monday’s filing comes after Robart ordered the Justice Department to determine whether it wanted to continue with appeals in the Seattle court as well.
Last week, a panel of three Ninth Circuit judges ruled to maintain the restraining order on Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. On Friday, another Ninth Circuit judge requested a vote on whether the panel’s order should be reconsidered by all of the judges in the court, or en banc.
Trump’s administration requested that Robart allow them to postpone further court proceedings until the Ninth Circuit decides whether to do this. If Robart approves this request, it would temporarily halt the ongoing case in Seattle and indicate that the case won’t immediately go to the Supreme Court.
“Further proceedings in the Ninth Circuit will likely inform what additional proceedings on a preliminary injunction motion are necessary in district court,” the lawyers wrote in the filing. “Accordingly, at this time, defendants believe the appropriate course is to postpone any further proceedings in the district court.”
Both parties have until Thursday to file briefs on whether it is appropriate for the Ninth Circuit to consider the case en banc. Once the court determines whether to hear the Trump administration’s motion to stay Washington’s restraining order, the defendants will have two business days to file a status report to Robart.
Last week, rumors circulated on how the president planned to counter Washington’s restraining order. Among the ideas reportedly being considered was a new order on immigration. Trump defended his order on Monday, saying in a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he’s blocking “criminals.”
“We’re getting them out, and that’s what I said I would do,” Trump said. “I’m just doing what I said I would do when we won by a very, very large electoral college vote.”
Update Monday, Feb. 13, 4:57 pm ET: Judge Robart has denied the Trump administration’s request to postpone the trial in district court while awaiting an appeal from the Ninth Circuit Court. Robart said proceedings would continue in Seattle, and reportedly expressed surprise that Trump would want to delay the trial. According to reporters in court, Robart referenced a tweet by Trump, saying, “I’m a little surprised since the President said he wanted ‘to see you in court.'”