The US appeals court has denied the justice department’s request for an immediate reinstatement of Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban.
The ninth US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco made the ruling early on Sunday morning, and asked those challenging the ban to respond to the appeal filed by the Trump administration late on Saturday night, and the justice department to file a counter-response by Monday afternoon.
“Appellants’ request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion for a stay pending appeal is denied,” the ruling said.
The justice department had earlier filed an appeal against a judge’s order lifting the ban, as the new administration’s flagship immigration policy threatened to unravel after one week.
The higher court’s denial of an immediate stay means legal battles over the ban will continue into the coming week at least.
After the appeal was lodged on Saturday, Trump told reporters at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida: “We’ll win. For the safety of the country, we’ll win.”
The president’s comments followed a personal attack on US district judge James Robart, the Seattle-based justice who made the court ruling on Friday that questioned the constitutionality of Trump’s order banning entry to the US by people from seven mainly Muslim countries.
But the justice department filing warned that Robart’s ruling posed an immediate harm to the public, thwarted enforcement of an executive order and “second-guesses the president’s national security judgment about the quantum of risk posed by the admission of certain classes of (non-citizens) and the best means of minimizing that risk”.
The filing also criticised Robart’s legal reasoning, saying it violated the separation of powers and stepped on the president’s authority as commander-in-chief. The appeal said the state of Washington lacked standing to challenge the order and said Congress gave the president “the unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of visitor”.
Earlier on Saturday, Trump had unleashed a Twitter assault on Robart. “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump tweeted.
Trump, who has said “extreme vetting” of refugees and immigrants is needed to prevent terrorist attacks, continued to criticise the decision in tweets throughout Saturday.
“The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!” he tweeted.