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Kay Aull, from left, holds a sign and chants with Beth Kohn, Paul Paz y Mino and Karen Shore outside of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. President Donald Trump's travel ban faced its biggest legal test yet Tuesday as a panel of federal judges prepared to hear arguments from the administration and its opponents about two fundamentally divergent views of the executive branch and the court system. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The travel ban verdict could come today. It's still likely going to the Supreme Court.


The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not make a verdict on President Trump's travel ban Tuesday, but Judge Michelle Friedland promised a verdict "as soon as possible."

The ruling will "probably" be issued this week, the court said in an earlier press release.

The hearing was conducted via phone calls due to how hastily it was set up. Here are the main takeaways.

The judges' big questions

Judges repeatedly asked August Flentje, the Justice Department's attorney, whether there was evidence that showed keeping the travel ban on hold would harm national security. 

They also questioned his argument that states didn't have legal standing to sue and that the courts didn't have a major role to play in reviewing presidential decisions on national security. 

The travel ban verdict could come today. It's still likely going to the Supreme Court.

LISTEN | Clifton told Washington state Attorney General Noah Purcell, "I haven't heard a lot of reference to evidence, and a lot more reference to allegations and I don't think allegations cut it at this stage."

Questions of religious intent

Judge Richard Clifton focused on the states' claim that the ban had religious motivations, saying that most Muslims weren't affected.

But Purcell said Trump's campaign promises about a Muslim ban showed there was intent to set up a ban that discriminated by religion. He argued that intent would make the ban unconstitutional, even if the ban itself didn't discriminate by religion. 

It is extraordinary for the court to enjoin the president's national security determination based on some newspaper articles.
August Flentje

Flentje dismissed Purcell's argument, saying it was couched in media bias. 

But Clifton retorted by asking, "Do you deny those statements were made?" Flentje conceded that they were, and Clifton said it was thus appropriate to consider Trump's campaign promises.

The travel ban verdict could come today. It's still likely going to the Supreme Court.

LISTEN | Flentje argued that Trump's ban was well within the bounds of presidential power.

What happens now?

As stated before, this case will likely be appealed and head to the Supreme Court regardless of the court's ruling. 

Flentje suggested the travel ban could be narrowed in scope, focusing on people who didn't already have some connection to the U.S. But Purcell said the government hasn't shown the ability to apply a ban that specifically. 

Trump said the Justice Department's victory should be "obvious."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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