Trump’s Muslim Ban Once Again a Loser in Federal Court

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Trump’s Muslim Ban Once Again a Loser in Federal Court

Jessica Mason Pieklo

Like the lower court ruling it upholds, Monday's decision cites the president’s "Muslim ban" statements on Twitter.

A federal appeals court on Monday once again refused to allow the Trump administration to enforce its second Refugee and Visa Order, also known as the Muslim ban, ruling the order goes beyond the power of the executive branch to enact immigration policy. 

This is the second time the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Trump’s travel ban, which targets nationals from six majority-Muslim countries. The decision largely upholds a March ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii in a lawsuit filed by attorneys for that state, who argue the ban violates federal immigration law and the U.S. Constitution. The lower court blocked the administration from enforcing the order entirely, on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on government establishment of religion. In that ruling, the lower court argued that statements made by President Trump and his advisers show that his executive order amounts to an attempt to target Muslims for discriminatory treatment.

Monday’s decision from the Ninth Circuit largely affirmed that ruling, reversing only the lower court’s injunction against the administration conducting inter-agency reviews of its vetting procedures.

“The Immigration and Nationality Act … gives the President broad powers to control the entry of aliens, and to take actions to protect the American public. But immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show,” the court said in a unanimous opinion. The court cited the president’s statements on Twitter declaring the order a Muslim ban, even as his attorneys argued to federal courts across the country that it was merely an exercise in “extreme vetting.”

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“That’s right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!” the president said last week. 

Monday’s opinion is the second from a federal appeals court to rule against the administration. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling last month blocking the administration from enforcing the Muslim ban. 

The decision from the Ninth Circuit was issued just before a deadline by the U.S. Supreme Court for attorneys for the state of Hawaii to respond to the Trump administration’s request for the Court to put aside those orders blocking enforcement and to step into the legal fight over the travel ban. The Court could rule as early as this week on that request.