The next judicial skirmish in the battle over President Trump's travel ban comes Monday at the West Coast's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and promises to pack a bigger punch than any of the preceding arguments thus far.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals previously heard arguments over Trump's first executive order about the travel ban and decided to keep a lower court's blockade of the travel ban in place. Trump subsequently issued a revised order, seemingly mindful of the concerns expressed by the court. He also has railed repeatedly against the 9th Circuit for its decisions, saying that the sprawling, 10-state circuit should be broken up.
A challenge of the second executive order, which blocks foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, heads before the western federal appeals court on Monday, after a federal judge in Hawaii blocked portions of the new order.
The arguments likely will sound familiar in many ways to court-watchers who have closely followed the travel ban litigation working its way through federal courts. But the presiding judges and lawyers presenting the arguments all differ, according to the 9th Circuit.
The attorneys' individual styles and strategies will be recorded live on video, unlike earlier arguments. Here's a rundown of the participants expected to duke it out on Monday:
Jeffrey B. Wall: The acting solicitor general may have an advantage when he argues the Trump administration's case for the travel ban before a federal appeals court: He has already done it once before.
Wall argued the Trump administration's case before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals last week in Richmond, Va. Wall focused part of his argument on the text of the new order.
"Its text doesn't have anything to do with religion," Wall said of the order during last week's argument. "Its operation doesn't have anything to do with religion. The only thing they've got are to reach back and say what we know despite its text and operation [is] what was in the president's head. And I think there's different ways to read those statements and respect for a coordinate branch and a presumption of regularity, I think, require reading them in a way that is not most hostile to the president, but would render this action lawful."
Wall did refer to other litigation about the travel ban before federal courts and said the president was responsive to judges' concerns when crafting the new order.
Wall's opponents in the case likely will have carefully examined his earlier argument for any holes to exploit. Consistency between his arguments before the differing courts could prove consequential.
Wall closed his arguments before the 4th Circuit last week urging the judges to avoid the heated politics inherent in the controversy.
Neal Katyal: Katyal, age 47, is a prolific tweeter who has not shied away from challenging the president on social media. On Monday, he is expected to represent the state of Hawaii as it battles the Trump administration in person.
Following the arguments before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 8, court watchers will be looking to see if Katyal adopts a strategy similar to American Civil Liberties Union attorney Omar C. Jadwat. The ACLU lawyer focused his argument largely on anti-Muslim statements Trump made as a presidential candidate and in the immediate aftermath of the ban, instead of the text of the newest order.
Katyal appears to relish a good fight and participates in them often at the Supreme Court. He argued more cases before the Supreme Court this term than any other attorney. Katyal participated in six of the 64 arguments this term.
Katyal's decision to participate in the travel ban case may reveal his desire to argue before the Supreme Court again, where the travel ban challenge appears to be headed.
If he does appear before the Supreme Court for such a high-profile case, it could put Justice Neil Gorsuch in an interesting spot. Katyal introduced Gorsuch at his Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on his high court nomination. When the two met at the Supreme Court last month for the first time, Gorsuch was silent.
Senior Circuit Judge Michael Daly Hawkins and Circuit Judges Ronald M. Gould and Richard A. Paez: The referees of Monday's 9th Circuit have at least one thing in common — former President Bill Clinton appointed all of them. While Trump defeated the former president's wife in November's election, there is no evidence to suggest the judges harbor any personal animus against Trump.
Gould, 70, lives in Seattle. He clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who was considered a "centrist" justice and is perhaps best remembered for writing an opinion that did not immediately define "hard-core" pornography but said "I know it when I see it."
Gould has multiple sclerosis and, after losing use of his right hand, he reportedly taught himself how to write with his left. He was diagnosed with MS in 1990, long before joining the 9th Circuit, and does not appear to have been slowed by the ailment.
Hawkins, 72, hails from Phoenix, and assumed his senior status in 2010. He has a background as a special courts martial military judge with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Hawkins has experience participating in controversies that attract much media attention. In 2013, Hawkins was one of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges who heard San Francisco Giants baseball player Barry Bonds' attorneys argue that Bonds should be exempted from an obstruction of justice conviction. Hawkins was reportedly a skeptic of the obstruction of justice charge.
Paez, 70, comes from Salt Lake City. Paez's seat on the 9th Circuit was the result of a hard-fought confirmation in Congress when Vice President Al Gore reportedly suspended his 2000 presidential campaign to cast a decisive vote to confirm Paez to the bench.
Conservatives at the Washington Times spoke out in opposition to his nomination in March 2000 as a "liberal" and "judicial activist." "It would seem that Judge Paez believes that simply donning a long, black robe confers upon him the powers of a kind of 'superlegislator' with an ever-expanding mandate," the Washington Times wrote in 2000.
Monday's one-hour long arguments will begin at 9:30 a.m. local time in Seattle, and video of the event will air live online.