If you missed the hearing, which was live-streamed for an audience of thousands, the Ninth Circuit's three-judge panel grilled Washington State's solicitor general Noah Purcell on the standing of the case and the merits of his claims. But they also grilled the Department of Justice's August Flentje on the merits of the White House's appeal.
Ninth Circuit judges William Canby and Michelle Friedland questioned the DOJ's Flentje about the president's rationale for the ban in the first place. They also asked Flentje about the limits of authority granted to the president to issue such executive orders.
Canby says that there's no evidence of terrorists in America coming from countries named in the ban.
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) February 7, 2017
Judge question "What are the Constitutional limitations that the government acknowledges?" gets a spooky pause from the government attorney.
— Parker Higgins (@xor) February 7, 2017
But Judge Richard Clifton seemed particularly skeptical of the Washington Attorney General's claim that the president's executive order amounted to religious discrimination. He pressed Purcell on whether the Washington Attorney General's claim was legitimate if the ban only affected a fraction of the Muslim world.
A lot of different legal predictions about the outcome of the hearing are circulating on Twitter, but either way, it looks likely that the Ninth Circuit could issue a decision as early as tonight. If the court rules in favor of the Washington AG, debating the constitutionality of POTUS's Muslim ban would go back to Federal District Court Judge James Robart in Seattle.
2/ Most likely outcomes are a win for the States (TRO is upheld) or dismissal of the appeal to allow J. Robart to consider more evidence.
— Brian Goldman (@briangoldman) February 8, 2017