U.S. appeals court upholds suspension of Trump travel ban

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By Dan Levine and Mica Rosenberg

<span class="articleLocation”>President Donald Trump suffered a legal blow on
Thursday when a federal appeals court refused to reinstate a
temporary travel ban he had ordered on people from seven
Muslim-majority countries.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
unanimously ruled that the Trump administration failed to offer “any evidence” that national security concerns justified the ban
he launched with an executive order on Jan. 27.

Shortly after the court issued its 29-page ruling, Trump
tweeted: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT
STAKE!” He told reporters his administration ultimately would
win the case and dismissed the ruling as “political.”

The Justice Department, which spoke for the government at
oral argument on Tuesday, said it was reviewing the decision and
considering its options.

The states of Washington and Minnesota challenged the order,
which had sparked protests and chaos at U.S. and overseas
airports on the weekend after it was issued. The two states
argued that Trump’s ban violated constitutional protections
against religious discrimination.

The court declined to evaluate those specific claims at this
point, but said the government had failed to show that any
person from the seven countries had perpetrated a terrorist
attack in the United States.

The 9th Circuit ruling, upholding the Feb. 3 decision of
U.S. District Judge James Robart, does not resolve the lawsuit,
but related only to whether Trump’s order should be suspended
while litigation proceeds. The ruling upholds the suspension.

Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order barred entry for citizens
from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90
days and imposed a 120-day halt on all refugees, except refugees
from Syria who are barred indefinitely.

The three judges said the states had shown that even
temporary reinstatement of the ban would cause harm.

In the ruling, they acknowledged the competing public
interests of national security and free flow of travel but that
the U.S. government had not offered “any evidence” of national
security concerns to justify banning the seven countries.

Curbing entry to the United States as a national security
measure was a central premise of Trump’s 2016 presidential
campaign, originally proposed as a temporary ban on all Muslims.
He has voiced frustration at the legal challenge to his order.

U.S. presidents have in the past claimed sweeping powers to
fight terrorism, but individuals, states and civil rights groups
challenging the ban said his administration had offered no
evidence it answered a threat.

Two of the three 9th Circuit judges were appointees of
former Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, and
one was appointed by former President George W. Bush, a
Republican like Trump.

The government could ask the 9th Circuit to have a larger
panel of judges review the decision “en banc,” or appeal
directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will likely determine
the case’s final outcome.



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