Timeline: Court battle over Trump travel ban

Timeline: Court battle over Trump travel ban
© Getty Images

Legal challenges to President Trump’s executive order banning travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries are moving quickly through the courts.

A federal judge in Washington issued a nationwide restraining order temporarily halting the ban on Friday, with a ruling expected in the coming days on whether to allow the immigration policy to remain on hold.

But the fate of Trump’s controversial executive order seems likely to be determined by the Supreme Court.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here’s a timeline of key points in the legal battle so far and what’s expected in the days ahead.

Friday, Jan. 27: Trump signs an executive order banning people from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia from entering the U.S. for 90 days and temporarily halts the United States' refugee resettlement program for 120 days, while indefinitely suspending resettlement for refugees from Syria.

Sunday, Jan. 29: Amid widespread chaos and confusion at U.S. airports over the weekend, the administration clarifies that the immigration order doesn’t apply to legal permanent residents from those nations.

Monday, Jan. 30: Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) — joined by Minnesota — sues to invalidate key aspects of the executive order and asks for the ban to be immediately suspended, kicking off dozens of other lawsuits filed around the country. Some courts start halting certain provisions of the executive order throughout the week.

Ferguson argues that the ban harms state residents, employers and educational institutions by separating families and damaging the economy. Attorneys for the Trump administration maintain that Washington does not have the legal standing to bring the lawsuit.

Friday, Feb. 3: U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle temporarily suspends the executive order from being enforced nationwide, the most far-reaching ruling to date. The restraining order is meant to give Robart more time to consider the full case.

Airlines are reportedly told by the government to start allowing travelers to board planes from the seven blocked countries, and 60,000 visa cancellations are reversed.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Boston issues a 21-page decision siding with the Trump administration.

Saturday, Feb. 4: The Department of Justice files for an emergency stay of the restraining order and files a notice that it will formally appeal the federal judge's ruling pausing Trump's immigration ban, bringing the case to the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The DOJ argues that the restraining order "second-guesses the president’s national security judgment.”
 
Sunday, Feb. 5: The appeals court denies the Justice Department's request to restore the travel ban, pending full consideration of the motion. The court says it will weigh in on whether to lift Robart’s ruling after it receives additional briefs from the administration and plaintiffs.
 
Monday, Feb. 6: Briefs from Justice Department lawyers, in response to the plaintiffs’ filings, are due by 6 p.m.

Next steps: In the coming days, the appeals court could schedule a hearing or issue a decision on whether the ban should remain suspended. 

If the restraining order is upheld, Trump could ask the Supreme Court to step in. If the restraining order is lifted, travelers from the seven majority-Muslim countries will be immediately barred from entering the U.S., which the plaintiffs said would "unleash chaos again.”

Meanwhile, court rulings on the actual merits of Trump’s immigration ban are also likely to unfold in the coming weeks, and permanent injunctions could be issued.