A federal court has upheld a lower court ruling that bars US President Trump's revised travel ban on six countries. The judges did not address whether the ban violated the constitution by discriminating against Muslims.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday against reviving US President Donald Trump's revised travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority nations.
The San Francisco-based federal court rejected Washington's attempt to undo a Hawaii federal judge's decision to block Trump's executive order, saying that the president violated US immigration law by discriminating against people based on their nationality.
The three judge panel acknowledged the president's ability to oversee immigration policy, but noted in their opinion that "immigration, even for the president, is not a one-person show."
They said that Trump had "exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress" under immigration law.
Burden of proof
Furthermore, the three-judge panel said that Trump failed to prove that travelers entering the US from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen would hurt American interests.
The judges, however, did not rule on whether the president's order was an unconstitutional discrimination against Muslims.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer asserted on Monday that the order was "fully lawful" and said the administration was reviewing the court's decision.
"We can all attest these are very dangerous times and we need every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and conducting acts of bloodshed and violence," Spicer said.
Supreme Court decision pending
The ruling was another legal setback for the Trump administration as the Supreme Court considers a separate case on the issue.
On May 25, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Maryland judge's ruling that also blocked Trump's 90-day ban, saying that the order "drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination" against Muslims.
Even prior to Monday's ruling, the 4th Circuit decision was on the fast track to the Supreme Court after the Trump administration appealed the ruling in an emergency request on June 1.
Trump's revised ban in March was his second attempt to impose restrictions on people traveling from Muslim-majority countries. The first executive order, issued on January 27 led to chaos and protests at several airports before being blocked by the courts.
Trump's second order sought to resolve the legal issues present in the original ban, but was blocked before it could go into effect on March 16.
rs/jm (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)