Trump May Appeal Immigration Ban to the Supreme Court

February 10th 2017

Kyle Jaeger

White House officials sent mixed messages Friday about how President Donald Trump plans to respond after a federal appeals court upheld a temporary stay on his executive order on immigration.

One source told CNN the president didn’t intend to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, while another declined to rule out the possibility. If the decision is not appealed, the federal government will have to defend the legal merits of the order at the District Court level.

The announcements came only a day after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the stay be maintained.

Trump also floated the idea of signing a separate but similar immigration order if the District Court in Washington deemed his initial order unlawful, as the state's attorney general argued last week. Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One Friday that "very little" about the order would change and teased, "I'd like to surprise you."

Here's how we got here.


  • Last week, attorneys general in Washington and Minnesota filed two actions related to the order. The first was a motion for a temporary restraining order against Trump's executive order, which bars immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days and indefinitely bars Syrian refugees. The second was a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the order.
  • A federal judge granted the first motion, which effectively lifted travel restrictions imposed by the order. He said he granted the motion because the state was likely to prevail in the separate lawsuit, which will be heard at a later date.
  • The federal government appealed the judge's ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The three-judge panel unanimously ruled that the temporary restraining order should be kept in place given the inadequacy of the government's defense and the likelihood that Washington would prevail in its pending lawsuit.
  • Constitutional experts predicted that Trump would appeal the appellate court's decision to the Supreme Court. 

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told The Washington Post that the administration was "reviewing all of our options in the court system."