The Wall Street Journal: Judges grill Justice Department lawyer over immigration ban

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Judges fired tough questions at the Justice Department lawyer defending President Donald Trump’s immigration order as well as at the attorney for two states seeking to strike it down, paving the way for an expected quick ruling on whether it should remain suspended.

August Flentje, the Justice Department lawyer arguing on behalf of the administration, urged the appeals court to remove a lower-court injunction on the order, arguing that the court shouldn’t second-guess the president’s judgment when it came to a question of national authority.

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The executive order, Flentje told a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, struck a balance between security concerns and the practice of allowing people to enter the country.

“The president struck that balance, and the district court’s order has upset that balance,” he said. “This is a traditional national security judgment that is assigned to the political branches and the president and the court’s order immediately altered that.’’

The oral arguments on whether to reinstate some, all, or none of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration represented a crucial test in the fast-moving legal battle over White House efforts to restrict entry into the U.S. The appeal, which centers on a lawsuit by the states of Washington and Minnesota, challenges the broad restraining order issued by a Seattle judge late last week that blocked the administration from enforcing the new restrictions. The court earlier Tuesday said it would likely issue a ruling later this week.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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