US president Trump said Thursday that he will issue a new executive order on immigration by next week, and Justice Department lawyers asked a federal appeals court to hold off on taking action in the legal battle over his initial travel ban until that new order is in place.
"The new order is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision," said Trump during a news conference, referring to a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that blocked his travel ban earlier this month.
Trump gave no details about the replacement order. Legal experts said a new directive would have a better chance of withstanding courtroom scrutiny if it covered some non-Muslim countries and exempted non-citizen immigrants living in the U.S.legally.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department told the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that it did not need a larger panel of judges to rehear its failed emergency challenge to a lower court's temporary suspension of Trump's executive order on immigration at this time, because a new order is on the way. The Ninth Circuit agreed Thursday evening to put any rehearing of the matter on hold for now.
The Justice Department wrote at length in a 47-page about the "seriously flawed" Ninth Circuit ruling from last week, but neverthless said: "(r)ather than continuing this litigation, the President intends in the near future to rescind the order and replace it with a new, substantially revised executive order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns."
"In so doing, the President will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation," it added.
Last Friday, an unidentified judge on the Ninth Circuit requested that the full court vote on whether to rehear the decision reached by the three-judge panel. Such requests are not uncommon, but the call for a vote came at time when the Justice Department's position on pursuing the appeal was uncertain.
The states that brought the lawsuit -- Washington and Minnesota -- said in their court filing on Thursday that there is no basis for rehearing the case, as the opinion from the three-judge panel is "firmly grounded in precedent."
And while the nation waits on a new or modified executive order on immigration from the Trump administration, at least one federal court is barreling ahead on litigation over the original one.
US District Court Judge James Robart in Seattle -- the judge who originally halted the key provisions of the travel ban -- denied a request from the Trump administration earlier this week to postpone any further proceedings in his court, which means the parties will now proceed to the discovery phase of the case.