Week ahead: Court hearing on Trump travel ban | Trump nears decision on Paris climate deal

Week ahead: Court hearing on Trump travel ban | Trump nears decision on Paris climate deal
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The Trump administration is going to court Monday over its controversial travel ban.

The Richmond-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the government's appeal of a Maryland district court judge's decision to block parts of President Trump's revised order nationwide beginning at 2:30 p.m. Audio of the arguments will be live-streamed on CSPAN.

The revised order banned travelers from six majority Muslim countries from entering the United States.

In blocking the order, the District Court Judge Theodore Chuang pointed to President Trump's own comments from the campaign trail, which he found to show the order was meant to discriminate against Muslims.

The government argues that Chuang abused his discretion in basing his decision to block the order nationwide on statements Trump made during the campaign when he was a private citizen.

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"That is unprecedented," the administration said in its appeal. "Even in the domestic setting, courts judge the legitimacy of a law by what it says and does, and occasionally by the official context that surrounds it-- not by what supposedly lies in the hearts of its drafters."

Trump issued the revised order after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate his first order, 

The court's full panel of nine judges will hear the case, International Refugee Assistance v. Trump. A three-member panel of judges typically hears an appeal, but the court polled its 15 judges and agreed to hear the case en banc, streamlining the appeals process.

The government is also appealing a Hawaii district court's decision to block the order.  Those arguments in the Ninth Circuit are scheduled for May 15.

The Paris climate accords will also be in the news in the coming week as the Trump administration nears a decision on whether to stay in the pact.

Reports last week said the White House is turning against the deal.

It's pitted some of Trump's top advisers against each other. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and the president's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, both advisers, are all on the side of staying in the deal.

But Trump strategist Stephen Bannon and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt want the U.S. out of the climate deal, keeping with Trump's campaign promises.

Ivanka Trump and Pruitt will reportedly meet on Tuesday to discuss the issue, ahead of a meeting where Trump's advisers will recommend a course of action.

On Capitol Hill, the House will be out, but senators will be in session.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday to examine ways to modernize the Endangered Species Act, as lawmakers take into account how the animal protections affect states.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for three people President Trump nominated to serve in top roles at the Justice Department. They include Solicitor General nominee Noel Francisco; Makan Delrahim, who would run the Justice Department's antitrust division; and Steven Engel, who would lead the office of legal counsel at the DOJ. 

That same day, a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee will hold a hearing to consider changes to the longstanding Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act that would "exempt certain small hydroelectric power projects... from the licensing requirements." 

On Thursday, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to examine Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac  "after nine years of conservatorship" under the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The agency's director, Mel Watt, will testify.

 

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