Another US appeals court upholds decision blocking President Trump's revised travel ban

Lawrence Kim
June 13, 2017

The state of Hawaii on Monday urged the U.S. Supreme Court not to grant the Trump administration's emergency request seeking to revive his plan to temporarily ban travelers from six Muslim-majority nations after it was blocked by lower courts that found it was discriminatory.

The proposed ban was initiated by president Donald Trump in the early days of his administration, but has been dogged by legal problems.

The administration has appealed another ruling against the ban to the Supreme Court, which is likely to consider the cases in tandem.

The 90-day ban was to apply to people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

A revised executive order announced in March - meant to address the issues raised by the federal judges - deleted Iraq from the list and removed an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

Ruling on a case brought by the state of Hawaii, the appeal judges found that the executive order violated existing immigration legislation.

Watson ruled that the true objective of the temporary ban on travel from six mostly Muslim nations was to discriminate against Islam - not to protect national security.

At the White House press briefing this afternoon, press secretary Sean Spicer said that the administration was reviewing the decision of the 9th Circuit.

However, the court gave space to the government to conduct internal reviews on vetting as it vacated part of the injunction. The first order indefinitely suspended admission of Syrian refugees, but that was dropped in the revised order. It doesn't reach the constitutional argument at all, instead concluding that the order exceeded the president's statutory authority. Sessions said that the president's executive order is "well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe".

Critics say the ban is discriminatory and violates the United States constitution by specifically targeting Muslim-majority countries.

Their decision leaves in place a nationwide injunction issued by a federal judge in Hawaii in response to a lawsuit by the state and a Honolulu-based imam.

The administration has argued to the court that the judge in Hawaii has limited what it can do to assess screening procedures.

The three judges of the 9th Circuit, writing unanimously, barely discussed religion at all. That violated the Constitution's prohibition on the government officially favoring or disfavoring any religion, he said.

The judges pointed to a June 5 tweet by Trump saying the order was aimed at "dangerous countries".

They concluded the travel ban would probably cause irreparable harm if it went into effect and that the revised executive order "does not offer a sufficient justification to suspend the entry of more than 180 million people on the basis of nationality". "To allow the ban to go forward, the courts would have had to ignore a mountain of publicly available evidence-even though everyone else in the country, including those of the disfavored faith, could not ignore it". Trump described the order, which replaced an earlier January 27 order that also was blocked by courts, as a "watered down, politically correct" version of his original plan.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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