Appeals court deals blow to Trump administration travel ban

People protest as the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments on US President Donald Trump's revised travel ban in Seattle Washington

"This Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend the power and duty of the Executive Branch to protect the people of this country from danger, and will seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court". "Laid bare, this executive order is no more than what the president promised before and after his election: naked invidious discrimination against Muslims", the judges said in their 205-page ruling.

Sessions said Trump is not required to admit people from "countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism until he determines that they can be properly vetted" and don't pose a security threat.

Critics who have called Trump's revised travel ban "Muslim Ban 2.0", based on his campaign pledge to stop Muslim immigration into the USA, celebrated Thursday's ruling.

"These clearly are very risky times and we need every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence", Michael Short, senior assistant press secretary, said in a statement.

It's possible that Trump's executive order is stupid and ineffective and still within his authority - and still not a pretext for religious bias.

In the decision, the federal judges argue that the executive order violates the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the constitution, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

Niemeyer wrote that the order was issued in direct response to the risk of terrorism from six majority-Muslim countries.

The White House has said the temporary ban is needed to improve vetting procedures to ensure terrorists do not enter the United States as travelers or refugees. "It can not go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation", said Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory.

U.S. appeal court's chief judge states revised ban "drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination".

The case is International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, 17-1351, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit (Richmond).

Because of that religious animus, the court ruled that Trump's executive order could never "survive any measure of constitutional review".

Protesters wave signs and chant during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel banoutside a federal courthouse in Seattle. "About the only thing the 10 judges in the majority disagreed about was whether President Trump's campaign statements are relevant to his motive - but even the judges who said no still thought there was enough evidence of discriminatory intent since his inauguration to strike down the ban". "The Constitution's prohibition on actions disfavouring or condemning any religion is a fundamental protection for all of us, and we can all be glad that the court today rejected the government's request to set that principle aside".

The chief judge of the circuit, Roger L. Gregory, wrote in the ruling that the administration's national security interest appear to be a secondary justification "for an executive action rooted in religious animus and meant to bar Muslims from this country". Iraq is not among the six predominantly Muslim countries included in the travel ban, and the Somalian came to the U.S.as a child and was radicalized here as an adult.

The government quickly announced its intention to appeal the decision - the latest in a series of stinging judicial defeats for the Republican billionaire, who took office in January - to the Supreme Court. She cited Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani's comments following Trump's inauguration that the president had asked him to figure out how to legally implement a Muslim ban. Appeals court documents say the administration has 90 days to file an appeal.

Federal immigration law gives the president broad powers when it comes to restricting entry into the U.S.by foreigners, and government lawyers urged the court to defer to the president and not second guess his judgment.

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