In a continuing series of defeats before the courts for President Trump’s ill-considered Muslim travel ban, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday refused to reinstate President Trump’s revised Muslim travel ban, saying it discriminated on the basis of religion. Federal appeals court largely maintains freeze of Trump’s travel ban:
In its 10 to 3 en banc decision, the Richmond-based court said the president’s broad immigration power to deny entry into the U.S. is not absolute.
“It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” according to the majority opinion written by Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory, and joined in part by nine other judges.
The 4th Circuit declined to lift an order from a Maryland federal judge, who ruled against the travel ban in March and sided with opponents who said the ban violates the Constitution by intentionally discriminating against Muslims. The ruling leaves the injunction in place and means citizens from Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Libya can continue entering the United States.
Even if the appeals court had sided with the Trump administration, the president’s order would have remained on hold because of a separate opinion from a federal judge in Hawaii. To put the ban in motion, the Justice Department would also have had to win [before a three judge panel of] the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which heard oral arguments on May 15 in the government’s appeal of the Hawaii decision.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision is still pending.
In the event the two appellate courts reach different results — unlikely — the travel ban will not go back into effect as long as one court’s nationwide injunction remains in effect.
Normally it would take a conflict among the Courts of Appeal to get to the U.S. Supreme Court, but this case is probably headed for the Supreme Court in any event.
The losing side in either case is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.