4th Circuit Upholds Injunction of Trump's Muslim Ban

Cheryl Sanders
May 31, 2017

At issue was the intent behind the measure - whether or not it deliberately singled out Muslims by targeting nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

In response to the news, Attorney General Jeff Sessions quickly vowed to appeal the ruling, making a Supreme Court showdown more likely in coming months.

The White House wrote that the country needs "every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence".

The Attorney General made the announcement hours after the USA 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Virginia, voted 10-3 to sustain a March 16 decision by a federal district judge in Maryland that stayed enforcement of the executive order, Xinhua news agency reported. The court cited statements of President Trump and his representatives on the campaign trail, on Twitter, on Fox News, and elsewhere describing a ban on Muslims as ample evidence that the national security justification was a pretext for religious discrimination.

Sessions noted that he "strongly disagrees" with the appeals court ruling and declared the travel ban to be "a constitutional exercise of the President's duty to protect our communities from terrorism", the Hill reported.

"Significantly, in revising the order, the executive branch did not attempt to walk away from its previous discriminatory order". Judges Paul Niemeyer, Dennis Shedd, and G. Steven Agee, wrote a dissenting opinion.

The travel ban sought to impose a 90-day halt in migration from six majority-Muslim countries. He says the ban was justified to ensure existing screening procedures were adequate.

A federal appeals court refused Thursday to reinstate President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, saying it "drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination".

The losing side in either case is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.

In this September 27, 2016 file photo, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chief Justice Roger Gregory, gestures during an interview in his office in Richmond, Va. He hailed the 4th Circuit ruling and says the ban is unconstitutional.

Trump could try to persuade the Supreme Court to allow the policy to take effect, even while the justices weigh whether to hear the case, by arguing that the court orders blocking the ban make the country less safe.

"Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles - that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy, or favor or disfavor one religion over another", the ruling read.

The travel ban "appears to be a post hoc, secondary justification for an executive action rooted in religious animus and meant to bar Muslims from this country", he wrote.

"The groundswell of public protest against the bans has been inspiring and unrelenting", the lead Jewish group advocating for immigrants rights said in a statement Thursday after the decision by the Richmond, Va. - Fourth Circuit Court.

Vladeck called it, "an enormous victory for the challengers to the travel ban, and a huge loss [for the president]".

The only examples Trump's order cited of immigrants born overseas and convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the United States include two Iraqis and a Somalian refugee, Gregory wrote. "It can not go unchecked", the court said.

A federal judge in Hawaii has also halted that provision and the freeze on the US refugee program.

It may be back to the drawing board for the Trump administration as it was dealt another blow to its latest travel ban.

Other reports by iNewsToday