Another U.S. appeals court stomped on President Donald Trump's revised travel ban Monday, saying the administration violated federal immigration law and failed to provide a valid reason for keeping people from six mostly Muslim nations from coming to the country.
"In short, the Order does not provide a rationale explaining why permitting entry of nationals from the six designated countries under current protocols would be detrimental to the interests of the United States".
"The order does not offer a sufficient justification to suspend the entry of more than 180 million people on the basis of nationality", the court wrote, referring the combined populations of the six countries.
"National security is not a "talismanic incantation" that, once invoked, can support any and all exercise of executive power", they added.
The panel heard on May 15 in Seattle, Washington state, Acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall on behalf of the Trump administration and Neal Katyal, an attorney representing the state of Hawaii, argue about whether the nationwide temporary restraining order (TRO) imposed by Judge Watson should be lifted and the travel ban as part of a presidential executive order reimposed. The refugee program is not at issue in the 4th Circuit case. Bottom line: Time for the U.S. Supreme Court to give the President back his constitutional role. Hawaii points to comments President Donald Trump made last week on Twitter to underscore its argument that the policy is a "thinly veiled Muslim ban".
The judges have accused the President of violating USA immigration law by discriminating against people based on their nationality and that Trump also failed to prove in any way that their entry into the country would hurt American interests, reports The Guardian.
The administration said it would seek further review at the U.S. Supreme Court, as it has already done with a ruling against the travel ban by another appeals court last month.
Both courts were broadly skeptical of the government's argument that the president - who has wide latitude on issues of immigration - was well within his rights to issue the executive order. The 9th Circuit said he was required to consult with Congress in setting the number of refugees allowed into the country in a given year and that he could not decrease it midyear.
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Herring today joined a coalition of 17 Attorneys General in filing amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing President Trump's immigration ban.
The White House predicted a win at the Supreme Court. "But they are thinking that, when it comes to immigration statutes, we might have a chance to convince even the most conservative justices". The ruling Monday says the president violated US immigration law. It said the Republican president's March 6 order violated existing immigration law.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement later on Monday.
Sessions says the court's decision "has a chilling effect on security operations overall". White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the administration is reviewing Monday's decision and expressed continued confidence that the order is fully lawful and ultimately will be upheld by the Supreme Court.
He says "these are very unsafe times" and the US needs "every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence".
The 9th Circuit on Monday narrowed Watson's ruling in some minor ways, allowing the administration to conduct an internal review of its vetting procedures for refugees and visa applicants.
The one before the Seattle-based 9th Circuit was the case of Hawaii v. Trump - the first lawsuit filed by a state against the revised travel ban. "This could conceivably provide some members of the Supreme Court with an alternative means by which to strike down the order, if they're dubious about the order but not totally convinced by the constitutional arguments against it, or if they wish to avoid the hard question of whether and when it's appropriate to rely on presidential statements or campaign statements". The judges were not directly ruling on the merits of the travel ban itself; however, to evaluate whether the injunction was appropriate, they had to weigh the probable impact of the travel ban and the likelihood that a case against it would succeed. In a footnote, they said they "need not address" claims of religious discrimination to rule on the injunction.