4th Circuit Court Ruling Keeps Trump’s Travel Ban On Hold

May 25, 2017
American Civil Liberties Attorney, Omar Jadwat, gestures as he speaks after a hearing before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.

American Civil Liberties Attorney, Omar Jadwat, gestures as he speaks after a hearing before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., Monday, May 8, 2017. The court Thursday upheld a ruling that blocks the administration from temporarily barring new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Steve Helber/AP

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that President Trump's controversial travel ban should be kept on hold, maintaining a nationwide preliminary injunction that blocks the executive order from being enforced.

A 13-judge panel of the court heard arguments over the ban earlier this month.

Trump has signed two executive orders restricting travelers from a handful of majority-Muslim countries, and putting a temporary moratorium on refugees. The first prompted chaos and was swiftly challenged in court. It was replaced by a second order, which omitted references to religion and explicitly exempted green-card holders. That one, too, was promptly challenged in court and has never gone into effect.

The second executive order — "EO-2," as the court dubbed it — is the one that was under consideration by the 4th Circuit, and in several other courtrooms across the country.

The issue at hand: Whether a lower court acted properly in issuing a nationwide injunction to keep the order from being enforced.

The judges ruled 10-3 on Thursday to "affirm in substantial part" the earlier decisions that have kept the controversial ban from going into effect.

In their decision, they drew on the "backdrop of public statements by the President and his advisers and representatives" to conclude that legal challenges to the executive order have a good chance of succeeding.

The judges "remain unconvinced" that the travel ban had "more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the President's promised Muslim ban."

"We find that the reasonable observer would likely conclude that EO-2's primary purpose is to exclude persons from the United States on the basis of their religious beliefs," Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote on behalf of the majority.

Three judges dissented, saying they would vacate the injunction.

One of the legal battles over the travel ban, whether this case or a similar lawsuit, is expected to ultimately land before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Story source: NPR