Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Ninth Circuit Rules in Favor of Trump Immigration Restrictions

In a noteworthy opinion on New Year’s Eve in Doe # 1 v. Trump, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that President Trump had the statutory authority to issue a proclamation restricting entry of immigrant visa applicants on the ground that they would burden the American health care system. The panel therefore reversed the district court’s preliminary injunction that had blocked the federal government from implementing the proclamation. (Under the proclamation, the restrictions were to take effect on November 3, 2019. The district judge first issued a temporary restraining order against the proclamation on November 2, 2019, and later that month issued a worldwide injunction.)

Judge Daniel Collins, joined by Judge Jay Bybee, wrote the majority opinion. (Disclosure: I regard both judges as friends of mine.) Judge Wallace Tashima dissented.

The majority opinion straightforwardly applies the framework of the Supreme Court’s 2018 opinion in Trump v. Hawaii to conclude that the proclamation was “well within” the president’s statutory authority. (Pp. 20-26.) It also disposes of various arguments that the proclamation conflicts with other provisions of law. (Pp. 27-35.)