Appeals Court Rules 3-0 to Maintain Suspension of Trump’s Refugee Ban

via Washington Post:

A federal appeals court panel has maintained the freeze on President Trump’s controversial immigration order, meaning previously barred refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries can continue entering the United States.

In a unanimous, 29-page opinion, three judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit flatly rejected the government’s argument that the suspension of the order should be lifted immediately for national security reasons and forcefully asserted their ability to serve as a check on the president’s power.

The judges wrote that any suggestion that they couldn’t “runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”

The judges did not declare outright that the ban was meant to disfavor Muslims — essentially saying it was too early for them to render a judgment on that question. But their ruling is undeniably a blow to the government and means the ban will remain off for the foreseeable future.

via LA Times:

A key argument in the case is whether Trump’s executive order violated the Constitution’s ban on religious discrimination. Lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota have alleged that the order was designed to discriminate against Muslims.

Asked for evidence to support that claim, the lawyer for Washington pointed to “the public statements from the president and his top advisors,” which he described as “rather shocking.”

Trump called for a “Muslim ban” during his presidential campaign, Noah G. Purcell said. And the day he signed the order, he gave an interview to a Christian television network in which he said he wanted to give priority to Christian refugees.

The evidence indicates that the order was “intended to favor some religious groups over others,” Purcell said, which would be a violation of the 1st Amendment’s ban on an established religion.

via the AP:

While they did not rule on the actual merits of the states’ argument that the travel ban was intended to target Muslims, the judges rejected the government’s claim that the court should not consider statements by Trump or his advisers about wishing to enact such a ban. Considering those remarks, the judges said, falls within well-established legal precedent….

The states said Trump’s travel ban harmed individuals, businesses and universities. Citing Trump’s campaign promise to stop Muslims from entering the U.S., they said the ban unconstitutionally blocked entry to people based on religion.

The appeals court sided with the states on every issue save one: the argument that the lower court’s temporary restraining order could not be appealed.