A panel of federal appeals court judges ruled to keep a restraining order against Donald Trump's controversial immigration action in place, according to court documents.
“We hold that the Government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury, and we therefore deny its emergency motion for a stay,” the panel, from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote in the decision Thursday.
The three-judge panel heard arguments from a lawyer representing the state of Washington Tuesday who argued that the executive order -- which temporarily halted immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa and temporarily shut down the refugee program -- discriminated on the basis of religion among other claims.
Department of Justice lawyers claimed that the order was made on national security grounds and that Washington District Court Judge James Robart’s issuance of a temporary restraining order pausing the ban nationwide was “overbroad.”
Trump unleashed a series of attacks on Robart following the judge’s initial decision to interrupt his order last week. On Twitter, the president called Robart a “so-called judge,” said his decision was “ridiculous and will be overturned,” and added that “[i]f something happens blame him and court system.”
Those comments were later condemned by members of both major political parties. Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch classified Trump's criticisms of the judiciary as “demoralizing” and “disheartening” in conversations on Capitol Hill, according to a spokesman, but the White House insisted he was not referring to a specific case.
The administration has denied that the order is a Muslim ban.