By Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer
Last week, UMass Dartmouth Professor of Law, Irene Scharf, attended a hearing evaluating the appeal of President Trump’s executive order calling for a temporary halt on immigration from seven countries, including Iran.
The hearing was tried before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The events surrounding the travel ban have been contentious, with the original executive order that was signed into action by President Trump causing protests and debate across the country.
Just over the past two weeks, two UMass Dartmouth professors were detained at Logan airport returning to their homes here in the U.S.
The executive branch is allowed to issue executive orders and implement them as actions enforceable by the agents and employed workers directly under the executive departments, including the Department of State, Defense, Agriculture, etc.
While the signing of an executive order does not create a law, it does give President Trump broad powers to apply to the bureaucratic processes of government. Former President Obama frequently used executive orders towards the end of his presidency to accomplish many of his goals.
Any executive order, when acted upon, can be tried in a court if deemed possibly unconstitutional or with irreparable harm or damage, with probable cause.
The judge’s hearing and deciding on that case, usually sets a precedent that dictates the new policy going forward.
The executive branch’s only form of recourse going forward with this manner of proceeding is to appeal to the higher court in order to have the decision and process by which the case was tried reviewed, in the belief that the case was critically mishandled.
There a panel of judges will evaluate the case and decide upon the proceedings, arguments put forth by the prosecution and defendant, and observes the rules and regulations that needed to be observed during a trial in order to make sure everything was conducted according to the laws of the court.
These appeals cases are often seen in criminal cases, where a defendant feels they were wronged or denied certain, basic rights while in the midst of a court hearing.
The university responded by quickly securing the release of the two professors, and also reaching out to the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU and other legal organizations to help them with the ban.
Receiving similar reactions, Trump’s executive order received legal challenges across the country, with one federal judge from Washington state halting it over the grounds of unconstitutionality.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the appeal but ultimately refused to allow the travel ban to approve.
It took place eight days after the suspension was enforced, but ultimately upheld the court suspensions, Professor Scharf said.
The opposition to the order made the argument for the “irreparable harm the order was causing” and “that it was a form of religious discrimination.”
“The point of this hearing was to hear the arguments of the other side and evaluate those, not the constitutionality of the original case,” said Professor Scharf.
The court was open to the public and “the room was filled,” according to Professor Scharf. It lasted for estimated around fifty minutes and saw cases made by the prosecution and defendant representing the U.S. government.
In the end, the 9th Circuit Court chose to uphold the suspension.
President Trump has announced that he will be re-drafting and issuing a new executive order in line with the court’s evaluation of the order.