Another US federal appeals court has dealt another blow to president Donald Trump and his travel ban, which is set to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said on Monday (June 12) that Trump’s executive order violated existing immigration law and did not make a rational case for prohibiting citizens from six mainly Muslim nations from entering the United States.
Judges Michael Hawkins, Ronald Gould and Richard Paez – all appointed by President Bill Clinton – said the travel ban violated immigration law by discriminating against people based on their nationality when it comes to issuing visas and by failing to demonstrate that their entry would hurt American interests.
“The order does not offer a sufficient justification to suspend the entry of more than 180 million people on the basis of nationality,” the court wrote, referring the combined populations of the six countries.
A judge just cited a Trump tweet when ruling against him. Again https://t.co/TsTXvog2Wq— TIME (@TIME) June 12, 2017
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the administration is reviewing the decision and voiced confidence that the order is lawful and will ultimately be upheld by the Supreme Court.
“I think we can all attest that these are very dangerous 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,” Spicer told a briefing.
A string of court rulings have blocked the ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In their ruling, the 9th Circuit judges said Trump had exceeded his authority and that “immigration, even for the president, is not a one-person show”.
Trump issued his initial travel ban in late January, bringing chaos and protests to airports around the country. A Seattle judge blocked its enforcement nationwide in response to a lawsuit by Washington state – a decision that was unanimously upheld by a different three-judge 9th Circuit panel.
The president then rewrote his executive order rather than appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court at that time. The new version, designed to better withstand legal scrutiny, named six countries instead of seven – dropping Iraq – and spelled out more of a national security rationale. It also listed some reasons that travelers from those nations might be granted waivers allowing them into the U.S. despite the policy.