While the Supreme Court hasn't heard the case yet (but is still allowing it to be implemented in the interim), President Trump's travel ban that mostly targets people from Muslim countries has repeatedly been struck down by lower courts. He said the latest restrictions were the product of a global, multiagency review that found the specified countries do not share enough security-related information with the U.S. He said the ban is created to protect the nation from terrorism and other threats.
The court is the second federal appeals court to rule against the ban. The Supreme Court is already scheduled to decide the legality of the travel ban, holding oral arguments in April and deciding by the term's conclusion at the end of June.
Like the previous versions, this latest ban seeks to block immigrants and temporary visitors from six Muslim-majority countries - in this iteration, Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, on a 9-4 vote, became the second federal appeals court to rule against the ban, finding that the Republican president's own words demonstrated that bias against Muslims was the basis of the policy.
Thirteen judges heard argument in the Richmond case pressed by two refugee resettlement groups and other people and allied organizations on December 8.
"Plaintiffs offer undisputed evidence that the President of the United States has openly and often expressed his desire to ban those of Islamic faith from entering the United States", 4th Circuit Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in a majority opinion. 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. "It's no surprise. The Constitution prohibits government actions hostile to a religion".
During a hearing before the 4th Circuit in December, Deputy U.S. Assistant Attorney General Hashim Mooppan told the judges that the president has broad authority to bar foreign nationals he believes would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. Niemeyer criticized the court's majority, saying his colleagues applied "a novel legal rule that provides for the use of campaign-trail statements to recast later official acts of the president".
En banc 4th Circuit says Trump's latest travel... As it did in striking down an earlier version of the ban, the 4th Circuit's opinion issued Thursday said the ban violated the Constitution's prohibition on religious discrimination.
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. A federal judge in Seattle soon blocked it, and courts since then have wrestled with the restrictions as the administration has rewritten them.