Appeals court rules that latest Trump travel ban is unconstitutional

Appeals court rules that latest Trump travel ban is unconstitutional

A second federal appeals court ruled Thursday against President Donald Trump's latest effort to limit travel from countries said to pose a threat to the nation's security.

WASHINGTON ― In an extraordinary ruling on Thursday, the majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found that "the words of the President" provided "undisputed evidence" of anti-Muslim bias.

In addition, as the court explains, the supposed security justifications for the travel ban are extremely weak, and "the President repeatedly distanced himself from the [se] non-discriminatory policy rationales".

In dissent, Judge Paul Niemeyer did not dispute the evidence of Trump's anti-Muslim bias.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already said it will consider the issue of the ban in April, with a ruling expected by late June. The inclusion of North Korea and the Venezuelan officials does not keep out any significant number of people who might have gained entry otherwise, and the other six nations covered by the travel ban are all overwhelmingly Muslim.

[A] n objective observer could conclude that the President's repeated statements convey the primary goal of the Proclamation-to exclude Muslims from the United States.

The Circuit Court said that it was relying only on what the President had said since entering the White House, thus leaving aside as a legal matter his campaign comments.

The U.S. Supreme Court had previously allowed the ban, put in place by Trump by presidential proclamation in September, to go into effect while litigation challenging it continues.

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"This is a hard argument to make given that the President and his advisors have repeatedly relied on these pre-election statements to explain the President's post-election actions related to the travel ban", the court wrote.

The Administration's argument that the order was created to protect America from potential terrorists coming from overseas "lies at odds with the statements of the President himself", the court majority said. The same court issued a very similar ruling against Travel Ban 2.0, for much the same reasons, by a 10-3 margin that was almost identical to yesterday's 9-4 vote.

The International Refugee Assistance Project, one of the groups challenging the ban, said the policy has had a "devastating impact" on US families waiting to reunite with their family members and foreign students seeking educational opportunities in the U.S.

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Cecillia Wang, who argued the case before the 4th Circuit in December, said the court once again got it right.

"Nothing is more important to the president and the attorney general than the safety and security of all Americans", Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said, adding that the ruling "does not alter the status quo".

Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote the majority opinion.

The 9th Circuit, by contrast, ruled on statutory grounds, saying Trump had exceeded the authority Congress had given him over immigration and had violated a part of the immigration laws barring discrimination in the issuance of visas. The order also extended to North Korea and to some government officials in Venezuela; neither of those nations has a Muslim majority, and the order was not challenged as to their nationals.

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