A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Trump administration failed to offer “any evidence” that national security concerns justified the ban he launched with an executive order on January 27.
Shortly after the court issued its 29-page ruling, Trump tweeted: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” He told reporters his administration ultimately would win the case and dismissed the ruling as “political.”
SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
The Justice Department, which spoke for the government at oral argument on Tuesday, said it was reviewing the decision and considering its options.
The states of Washington and Minnesota had challenged the order, which sparked protests and chaos at US and overseas airports on the weekend after it was issued. The two states argued that Trump’s ban violated constitutional protections against religious discrimination.
The court declined to evaluate those specific claims at this point, but said the government had failed to show that any person from the seven countries had perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.
The 9th Circuit ruling, upholding the February 3 decision of US District Judge James Robart, does not resolve the lawsuit, but related only to whether Trump’s order should be suspended while litigation proceeds. The ruling upholds the suspension.
Trump’s January 27 executive order barred entry for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and imposed a 120-day halt on all refugees, except refugees from Syria who are barred indefinitely.
The three judges said the states had shown that even temporary reinstatement of the ban would cause harm.
In the ruling, they acknowledged the competing public interests of national security and free flow of travel but found the US government had not offered “any evidence” of national security concerns to justify banning the seven countries.
The government could ask the 9th Circuit to have a larger panel of judges review the decision “en banc,” or appeal directly to the US Supreme Court, which will likely determine the case’s final outcome.
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