The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has delayed at least until Thursday, a decision on President Donald Trump's travel order.
The announced delay came within hours of critical comments made by the president.
In a Wednesday morning speech before law enforcement officers, President Trump called the legal challenge to his executive order "disgraceful" and said it was a "sad day" for the United States.
"I won't say the court was biased. But so political," he said.
At stake is a presidential executive order issued January 27th placing a temporary travel ban on immigrants and refugees from seven nations with strong jihadist groups. The countries are Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, and Iran.
The Ninth Circuit Court is considered the most liberal appeals court in America. Conservative legal experts say the court was "shopped," specifically sought out by those who wanted to overturn the president's order. It was done by design because they knew they were more likely to receive a favorable ruling from that liberal court.
Appearing before the three-judge panel Tuesday, government attorneys argued the president had the authority to order the immigration restrictions on the grounds of protecting national security. The judges appeared skeptical.
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice expressed disappointment over the inability of the government lawyers to effectively answer the court's questions.
On the Sean Hannity Show, Sekulow said, "(It was) painful to listen to this argument and it's because the lawyers didn't have their heart in it…The case was over before it was started."
Sekulow told Hannity the president should have waited to issue his travel order until he had a committed leadership team in place at the U.S. Department of Justice. He admitted the government position proved less effective because Jeff Sessions was not in place as attorney general. The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm the Session's nomination later tonight.
Regardless of the outcome of Ninth court's decision. the legal dispute over the president's immigration may likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justice Anthony Kennedy oversees the Ninth Circuit and he can either uphold or deny the lower court's stay order or send the case to the full Supreme Court for consideration.
Sekulow suggests the Supreme Court may uphold Trump's order because "the president has the Constitutional and statutory authority to restrict immigration" and because the Ninth Circuit Court is the "most overturned circuit court" in the nation.
"The four liberal members of the court may completely disagree with the president's position…but…I think they would be hard pressed—any of them frankly, to say that the president did not have this authority," he said.
Sekulow and other conservative legal analysts say the U.S. Constitution grants the executive authority over immigration, but he also has statutory authority as stated by U.S. immigration law.
Enacted by Congress in 1952, federal immigration law states in 8 U.S.C. Section 1182 (f) that:
"Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate"
Trump is not the first president to impose restrictions on immigration.
In 1980, citing national security concerns following the Iranian Islamic Revolution, President Jimmy Carter barred the entry of Iranians into the United States.
More recently in 2011, President Barack Obama imposed a nine-month ban against Iraqis entering the country.
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