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In Rare Move, Appeals Court Agrees to Let Livestream of Trump Immigration Ban Hearing

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In an unusual move, a federal appeals court will provide a live Internet broadcast of its hearing on the Trump Administration’s controversial Middle East immigration and refugee ban. You can watch it above via LawNewz.com‘s livestream.

“The oral argument scheduled for Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. [Pacific/6 p.m. Eastern] will be available for live streaming through the court’s public website,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announced in an unsigned order issued Monday.

Department of Justice lawyers will ask a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit to overturn a lower court injunction barring the enforcement of President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order. Trump’s order banned entry and restricted travel by immigrants and refugees from seven Middle East countries in the name of national security, including those with valid U.S. visas and permanent residence status, or green cards.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision to provide live access to its oral argument is highly unusual for a federal appeals court.

In contrast, the U.S. Supreme Court does not allow any cameras in the courtroom, and releases delayed audio recordings of oral arguments on the Friday of each week there is oral argument.

The Ninth Circuit is on the cutting edge of public access.  The court posts video of oral arguments after each hearing on the court’s own YouTube channel. The court also provides video and audio recordings of all oral arguments on the court’s public website by 12:00 p.m. Pacific the day after arguments.

The Ninth Circuit hearing will be conducted via telephone. In another unusual move, the court will conduct the telephonic hearing without any judges or lawyers appearing in a public courtroom with only audio, and no video.  This is because the hearing was scheduled on an emergency basis and the judges are located in different offices in the circuit court’s western United States jurisdiction.

The Ninth Circuit will review the Feb. 3 temporary restraining order by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart in Seattle, which blocked enforcement of much of President Trump’s executive order.

Prior to Judge Robart’s order, several other federal district court judges had issued narrower orders requiring the federal court to allow immigrants with valid U.S. visas to enter the United States and be provided access to lawyers if detained in U.S. airports.

Editors note: This story was updated to add that the telephonic hearing will not be held in a public courtroom, with an audio livestream only and no video.

 

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