Second Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Travel Ban

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is the second appeals court to strike down President Trump’s travel ban.1 The first appeals court to rule against the Trump administration was the Virginia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which said that the revised travel ban still contained religious animus.2 The 4th Circuit ruled that such discrimination violated constitutional protections of religion under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.3 The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said that the travel ban discriminated based on nationality and lacked justification based on national security.4 The court based its ruling on federal immigration law, not the Constitution’s religious protections, whereas other courts have ruled that the ban discriminates against Muslims.5

Opponents to the travel ban from Hawaii and Maryland submitted their final arguments to the Supreme Court, which will decide whether the highest court in the United States will hear the case now or in the fall, and whether the ban should go into effect as the case is pending.6

The Ninth Circuit avoided moral issues of the travel ban, instead stating, “The order does not tie these nationals in any way to terrorist organizations within the six designated countries. It does not identify these nationals as contributors to active conflict or as those responsible for insecure country conditions. It does not provide any link between an individual’s nationality and their propensity to commit terrorism or their inherent dangerousness.”

The Ninth Circuit has now given the U.S. Supreme Court an alternative to block the ban without stating that Trump’s ban was anti-Muslim.7 The issue is that now there may be confusion about whether or not there is a constitutional problem with the executive order.8 Nonetheless, as Micah Schwartzman, a law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law comments, “The court now has opinions below in the full range of statutory and constitutional issues. Unless the case is mooted, which remains a possibility, I would expect the court to hear argument on all these issues.”9


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