US Appeals Court Upholds Block on Trump Travel Ban

The Latest: White House says travel ban is 'fully lawful'

The administration had asked the appeals court to reverse U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson's March 16 ruling that blocked the executive order, which was Trump's second attempt to ban foreign nationals from six countries identified as being state sponsors of terrorism or havens for terrorists, the first having been issued on January 27.

Earlier, the Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Maryland judge's ruling blocking parts of the order.

The three-judge panel unanimously ruled that the president violated United States immigration law by discriminating against people based on their nationality, and also failed to show that their entry into America would hurt the country's interests.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled unanimously that the order restricting travel from six mainly Muslim countries "exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress".

On March 6, Trump introduced a revised version of the temporary travel ban, but it too was blocked by a federal court ruling nine days later.

President Trump signing Executive Orders in Oval Office. The 9th Circuit found that the president's order failed to "tie these nationals in any way to terrorist organizations within the six designated countries".

"At this point, it's surprising if a court rules in favor of the travel ban", Levinson told AFP.

Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said Monday's ruling was yet another signal that Trump's executive order was on weak legal footing. But instituting some kind of travel ban isn't any kind of answer, and thanks to the courts, it's not passing constitutional muster, either.

"S.C." is an apparent reference to the Supreme Court, which Trump's Justice Department has asked to review the matter.

Neal Katyal, one of the lawyers representing those challenging the ban, said on Twitter that the decision was a "complete win" and noted it was different than previous victories in other cases.

Ironically, the judges pointed to Trump's own tweets to validate their ruling, including one from just last week in which the president said his travel ban was needed for "certain unsafe countries".

"I stated from the beginning that the president must act in a way that follows the laws and constitution of the United States", Chin said in a statement.

Most Supreme Court practitioners and experts said they would be surprised if the court turned down a petition from the government on a matter of national security - though the justices might feel less pressure to come to a decision on the merits of the executive order before the end of June.

But if the conservative majority on the Supreme Court is inclined to stay within the "four corners" of the executive order's text and not broadly consider the motivation behind it, the 9th Circuit shows it still can not be upheld.

The Fourth Circuit Court ruled against the Trump policy as unconstitutional, as a form of religious discrimination against Muslims.

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