Trump loses ap­peal bid to re­in­state travel ban

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - SUDHIN THANAWALA

SAN FRANCISCO — A fed­eral ap­peals court re­fused Thurs­day to re­in­state Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ban on trav­ellers from seven pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim na­tions.

The panel of three judges from the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals de­clined to block a lower-court rul­ing that sus­pended the ban and al­lowed pre­vi­ously barred trav­ellers to en­ter the U.S. An ap­peal to the U.S. Supreme Court is pos­si­ble.

U.S. District Judge James Ro­bart in Seat­tle is­sued a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der halt­ing the ban last week af­ter Washington state and Min­nesota sued. The ban had tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended the na­tion’s refugee pro­gram and im­mi­gra­tion from coun­tries that have raised ter­ror­ism con­cerns.

Jus­tice De­part­ment lawyers ap­pealed to the 9th Cir­cuit, ar­gu­ing that the pres­i­dent has the con­sti­tu­tional power to re­strict en­try to the United States and that the courts can­not sec­ond-guess his de­ter­mi­na­tion that such a step was needed to pre­vent ter­ror­ism.

The states said Trump’s travel ban harmed in­di­vid­u­als, busi­nesses and uni­ver­si­ties. Cit­ing Trump’s cam­paign prom­ise to stop Mus­lims from en­ter­ing the U.S., they said the ban un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally blocked en­try to peo­ple based on re­li­gion.

Both sides faced tough ques­tion­ing dur­ing an hour of ar­gu­ments Tues­day con­ducted by phone — an un­usual step — and broad­cast live on cable net­works, news­pa­per web­sites and so­cial me­dia. It at­tracted a huge au­di­ence.

The judges ham­mered away at the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s claim the ban was mo­ti­vated by ter­ror­ism fears, but they also chal­lenged the states’ ar­gu­ment that it tar­geted Mus­lims.

“I have trou­ble un­der­stand­ing why we’re sup­posed to in­fer re­li­gious an­i­mus when, in fact, the vast ma­jor­ity of Mus­lims would not be af­fected,” Judge Richard Clifton, a Ge­orge W. Bush nom­i­nee, asked an at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing Washington state and Min­nesota.

Only 15 per cent of the world’s Mus­lims are af­fected by the ex­ec­u­tive or­der, the judge cal­cu­lated.

“Has the gov­ern­ment pointed to any ev­i­dence con­nect­ing th­ese coun­tries to ter­ror­ism?” Judge Michelle T. Fried­land, who was ap­pointed by Barack Obama, asked the Jus­tice De­part­ment at­tor­ney.

The Supreme Court has a va­cancy, and there’s no chance Trump’s nom­i­nee, Neil Gor­such, will be con­firmed in time to take part in any con­sid­er­a­tion of the ban.

The ban was set to ex­pire in 90 days, mean­ing it could run its course be­fore the court would take up the is­sue. The ad­min­is­tra­tion also could change the or­der, in­clud­ing chang­ing its scope or du­ra­tion.

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