UPDATED Thursday 4:06 p.m. Lawyers for the two refugee resettlement groups that filed this case in Maryland on Thursday added their support for sending the case directly to the en banc Fourth Circuit Court for initial review. That issue will now be put to a vote among the court’s 15 active judges; a majority is required to approve the step.
Lawyers for the Trump Administration said on Wednesday they would support court review of the revised immigration order by the full bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, but only if that would not slow down the process.
As if to emphasize their desire for speedy review, the government attorneys filed one day ahead of a deadline their response to the Circuit Court’s inquiry on whether it should bypass a three-judge panel and move directly to the 15-judge en banc court for review of a Maryland judge’s nationwide bar to enforcement of a 90-day suspension of entry into the U.S. of any foreign nationals from six Mideast nations.
The Circuit Court had asked both sides for a response by Thursday. The two refugee settlement groups that challenged the suspension order have not yet offered their view on that issue.
The Trump legal team argued that the case raises issues of “exceptional importance,” so the Circuit Court should keep to the expedited schedule it had already announced. It is necessary, the filing said, that the court avoid any delay as a result of putting the case before the full court.
Under the existing schedule, the Circuit Court could be in a position to rule in about a week from now on the Administration request to put the Maryland judge’s on hold pending review of the appeal.
The schedule sets a hearing for May 8, but that is likely to focus on the basic question of whether the Trump order is legally valid.