Late this afternoon, the US District Court of Appeals for the 9th District heard arguments both for and against the restraining order now halting Trump's Immigration Ban.
Two points were at issue: whether the President has "unreviewable" authority granted to him by Congress to order the Immigration Ban, and whether states have the legal standing to question the President's national security determinations.
Three justices heard the arguments: Judges Richard R. Clifton, William C. Canby Jr., and Michelle T. Friedland.
Arguing on behalf of the White House, Justice Department lawyer August E. Flentje stated he was the voice of the president and urged the court to lift the restraining order preventing the ban from being implemented, saying that the president's order was plainly constitutional and beyond the state's authority to question.
He argued the president has the legal right to deny entry into the US any aliens whose presence would be "detrimental to the interests of the United States."
He also said that is was "extraordinary" to question legitimacy of a presidential directive based on "some newspaper articles, and that's what has happened here."
The judges questioned the justification of the ban, asking Flentje if the president had just cause for separating out the 7 countries covered under the ban from other Muslim nations, and whether the president had evidence that they presented a national security threat.
Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell, arguing for Washington and Minnesota States, said both were irreparably harmed by Trump's Immigration Ban, as were residents of those states, and that harm would be continued if the restraining order is lifted.
Citing comments by the president and former mayor Ruddy Guiliani, Purcell also argued the ban was intended to discriminate against Muslims, thus rendering it unconstitutional under the Equal Protections clause.
The justices countered Purcell, asking how discrimination against Muslims could be inferred when such a low percentage of the earth's Muslims were affected.
In his rebuttal to the States, Flentje gave the Court a possible compromise position, stating that they could remove the restraining order from the part of the ban that affected travelers from the seven countries listed who had never been to the US, had no family here, and had no expectation of Constitutional protections.
Justice Friedland replied that if the executive order violated the Constitution's ban on the government's establishment of religion, then it would nullify the entire ban, not just parts of it.
The actual question before the judges was a very narrow one: should the restraining order preventing the implementation of the ban be lifted or not?
The justices are expected to rule later this week.
Regardless of which side they rule for, the case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court. However, since the Supreme Court is short a deciding jurist and since those on the court are ideologically split 4 to 4, it is likely they would render a verdict and the 9th Circuit court's ruling would remain in place.
Thus, the outcome of this suit is likely to have far reaching implications for the definition of both presidential and state's rights.