Appeals court to weigh challenge to revised Trump travel ban

Appeals court to weigh challenge to revised Trump travel ban

President Donald Trump's second executive order on refugee and migrant entry faces another daunting test this week, as a federal appeals court weighs the fate of a directive administration officials claim is essential to the nation's continued security.

Omar Jadwat, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, who will be arguing the case at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia on Monday, said the fact that so much time has passed since the ban was issued is proof that there was no pressing national security need for it in the first place.

The Trump administration is appealing the Maryland ruling that blocked the order ban of new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit will meet May 15 in Seattle to hear Trump's appeal of the decision blocking the travel ban by a federal judge in Hawaii.

Once among the most conservative of the 13 federal appeals circuits, the court has become more moderate since Democrat Barack Obama's appointment of new judges, according to Carl Tobias of the University of Richmond School of Law. The 2:30 p.m. EDT hearing will be broadcast by C-SPAN and the court will provide a link to the live feed on its website.

Greensboro could ask the full court to hear the case.

The brief filed by Virginia and more than a dozen other states urges the 4th Circuit to uphold Chuang's preliminary injunction determining that the objective is to exclude Muslims in violation of the establishment clause of the Constitution that bars the government from preferring one religion over another.

In pleadings to the 4th Circuit, the government argues that the revised order is an appropriate national security measure temporarily suspending the entry of nationals from the six countries while it is determined if current screening and vetting practices are adequate to detect terrorists and denies that it discriminates on the basis of religion. The full court will sometimes re-examine a case that a three-judge panel has heard. "Is this a national security case or is this an immigration case?"

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"I think a lot depends on how the judges view the case", Tobias told the Associated Press. "Or is this a religious freedom case?"

Justice Department lawyers say the court should evaluate the words of the executive order and the administration's explanation for its objective, avoiding "judicial psychoanalysis" of what Trump may have meant during the campaign.

Trump's administration says the court should focus on the text of the executive order, which doesn't mention religion.

The scope of Trump's revamped ban, signed in early March, was reduced from his original January effort, which blocked travelers from seven-majority Muslim countries as well as all refugees.

The National Immigration Law Center and American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the case, say accepting that argument would mean that Trump could repeatedly declare that the ban's "sole goal is to harm Muslims" as long as it didn't say so in the text of the executive over.

How quickly the 4th Circuit will rule is not known.

Now nearly 100 days after the original travel ban, the government says the period of 90 days was reset when the administration issued the new order in March.

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