The White House is considering a range of options to get around the court decision that struck down President Donald Trump's travel ban. It's looking less likely that there will be an immediate appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, although another appeal to the full appellate court is still possible.
Rather, lawyers are drafting a new executive order that would pass muster with the courts while accomplishing the same goal: protecting the U.S. from terrorists who want to enter.
"We'll be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country," Trump said during a White House news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "You'll be seeing that sometime in the next week. In addition, we will continue to go through the court process and, ultimately, I have no doubt that we'll win that particular case."
Later in the day, as he flew to Florida for the weekend along with the Japanese leader, Trump spoke again of the legal fight and acknowledged that a new executive order aimed at protecting Americans from terrorism is a live possibility.
"We will win that battle. The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily, but we will win that battle. We also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order," Trump said during an exchange with pool reporters on board Air Force One.
Asked if such an order would be forthcoming, the president said: "It very well could be. We need speed for reasons of security, so it very well could be." The new directive could come Monday or Tuesday, Trump added.
"We will be extreme vetting," Trump vowed during his White House news conference. "We will not allow people into our country who are looking to do harm to our people."
Trump could ask the Supreme Court to step in and do what the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to do Thursday: allow him to reinstate his original executive order. However, the president said nothing publicly Friday about taking the issue to the justices.
However, the appeals court added its own twist to the legal saga Friday afternoon, announcing that one of its judges requested a vote of the full bench on whether the order issued Thursday turning down Trump's request should be reconsidered by an 11-judge panel.
Chief Judge Sidney Thomas ordered lawyers for the two sides in the case – the Justice Department and the states of Washington and Minnesota – to file briefs by Thursday indicating whether they support such a rehearing.
To win a rehearing, the Trump administration will need a majority of the active judges voting. In that group, Democratic appointees outnumber GOP judicial picks, 18-7.
Every liberal judge in the country wants a crack at any executive order on the ban coming from the White House, so success in the appeals process is probably not in the cards.
And unless Neil Gorsuch can be confirmed quickly, taking the issue immediately to the Supreme Court will probably end up in a 4-4 deadlock, leaving the lower court ruling intact.
So the White House is going to try to fashion an executive order that addresses some of concerns listed by the appeals court. The problem is that the Ninth Circuit judges showed that legitimate legal arguments are useless. They appear bound and determined to come up with any justification for killing the travel ban, and appealing to the law may be a futile effort.
Eventually, the White House will probably be forced to take the case to the Supreme Court, where it is hoped that Justice Gorsuch will cast the decisive vote in favor of keeping the travel ban.