A Federal Appeals Court Rules That Trump's Latest Travel Ban Is Unconstitutional
16 February, 2018, 06:59 | Author: Inez Murphy
President Donald Trump speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, during a meeting with state and local officials about infrastructure.
The long and winding road to the resolution of legal challenges to the president's third travel ban stopped briefly at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed a district court's ruling that the ban violated the U.S. Constitution's establishment clause by discriminating against Muslims. The court upheld a nationwide injunction against enforcement of the travel ban against people from the Muslim-majority nations who have bona fide relationships with people or entities in the United States, but stayed the injunction in light of the Supreme Court order. The 4th Circuit's ruling goes further than previous rulings that only said the ban violated federal immigration law (while hinting at a possible constitutional violation), which the Supreme Court will tackle when it takes up the case in April. Under a December 4 order from the Supreme Court, however, the ban on immigrants and temporary visitors is in effect as the challenges are litigated.
In its ruling, the 4th Circuit said the ban has a "much broader deleterious effect" than banning certain foreign nationals.
The appeals court called Trump's proclamation an "invisible yet impenetrable" barrier that "denies the possibility of a complete, intact family to tens of thousands of Americans".
One judge, William Traxler, was in the majority when the 4th Circuit ruled that Trump's second travel ban was illegal. Based on that investigation, it said, the administration chose to have the ban cover a slightly different list of countries than in the first two versions.
Writing for the majority in Monday's decision, Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory said that judicial second-guessing of the president was a delicate matter but was required in this case.
Muslims in New York City pray following a protest to the mark the first anniversary of the Trump administration's travel ban by executive order. The restrictions vary in their details but, for the most part, citizens of the countries are forbidden from emigrating to the United States and many of them are barred from working, studying or vacationing here.
The 4th Circuit found that Trump had expressed "what any reasonable observer could view as general anti-Muslim bias". "The Constitution prohibits government actions hostile to religion".
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Paul Niemeyer said the 4th Circuit's ruling was an attempt to "second-guess USA foreign policy, in particular, the president's discretionary decisions on immigration, implicating matters of national security". In May, the court cited Trump's remarks on Muslim travelers while rejecting an earlier version of the ban, finding it "drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination".
The latest version blocks travelers from the listed countries to varying degrees, allowing for students from some, while blocking other business travelers and tourists, and allowing for admissions on a case-by-case basis.
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