President Trump’s hope of banning people from terror prone countries took another blow today, as the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 10-3 to uphold a lower courts decision that barred the travel ban.
Trump’s first attempt was rejected by the courts as it included reference to Muslims. The courts decided that barring immigrants based on their religion was in violation of the Constitution, which ensures religious freedom. The Trump administration then re-drafted the executive order, removing any mention of religion. The second attempt was also rejected by a court in Hawaii, prompting Attorney Jeff Sessions to say “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power.” During his campaign, Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States Trump Calls for ban on Muslim immigrants. The first second court determined that it could not ignor Trump’s previous statements as for the reason he wished to initiate a ban, and hence also found the second version in violation of the Constitution. The administration then appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In the majority decision, Chief Judge Roger Gregory of the 4th Circuit wrote that changes made to the revised travel ban removing any mention of religion did not fix the fact that the order unfairly and illegally targets Muslims. “From the highest elected office in the nation has come an executive order steeped in animus and directed at a single religious group,” the court said in a 79-page opinion, accompanied by several concurrences and dissents.
The administration will now need to decide to either drop efforts to adopt the ban, or appeal to the Supreme Court for a ruling. If submitted to the Supreme Court, the court could decide either to hear arguments, or not hear arguments. If they decide not to hear the case, then the Appeal’s Court verdict would stand.