This content is not available in your region

Both sides grilled as US appeals court probes Trump travel ban

Access to the comments Comments
By Alasdair Sandford
Both sides grilled as US appeals court probes Trump travel ban

An American appeals court ended Tuesday’s session saying it would rule as soon as possible on whether President Trump’s travel ban on refugees and nationals of some mostly-Muslim countries should be reinstated.

Whichever way the San Francisco court’s decision goes, the case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday the panel of three appeal judges asked lawyers for two US states – Washington and Minnesota – challenging the ban, whether it really discriminated against all Muslims.

The government side was grilled on whether without it, there was a real danger to national security.

President Trump has attacked the judiciary over the ban several times in tweets.

The White House says he is confident of victory.

“There’s no question the president respects the judicial branch and its ruling. But I think that there is no way, I just read off the US code on that, I don’t think there’s any other way that you can interpret — that the president has the discretion to do what’s necessary to keep this country safe,” White House spokesman told a news briefing.

Donald Trump has promoted his travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries as a key element of national security. The executive order issued on January 27 barred travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days and all refugees for 120 says. Those from Syria would be banned indefinitely.

After a weekend of chaos at US airports, a federal judge in Seattle suspended the order following a challenge by Washington state – prompting the Justice Department’s appeal.