On February 9, a federal appeals panel unanimously rejected President Trump’s ban on travel into the United States from seven largely Muslim nations for a second time after his attempt to reinstate its effects. The travel ban was one of the first executive orders President Trump issued after taking office this year, it suspended refugee entry into the United States and barred visitors from seven Muslim-majority nations for up to 90 days.
The panel contained three judges appointed from other presidencies: Judge Michelle T. Friedland, appointed by newly former President Barack Obama; Judge William C. Canby Jr.,appointed by former President Jimmy Carter; and Judge Richard R. Clifton, appointed by George W. Bush. The three judges stated that the Trump administration had shown no evidence that anyone from the seven nations – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – had committed terrorist acts in the United States.
The ruling also rejected President Trump’s claims that the courts are ‘powerless’ to check the power of a president and review the president’s assessments on national security. The court’s response to this was that the judges have a crucial role to play in a constitutional democracy. While the judges did not outright say that the ban was meant to favor Muslims, the ban is almost certain to remain off for the foreseeable while.
Last Friday, District Judge James L. Robert granted Washington and Minnesota a temporary restraining order on the ban.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president stated a response to their comment on the ruling being a “preliminary decision.”
“The ruling does not affect the merits at all. It is an interim ruling, and we [the Trump Administration] are fully confident that we will get our day in court and have an opportunity to argue this on that merits that our administration will prevail throughout the ruling.” Said Conway.
Only minutes after the ruling, the president angrily posted a response.
“SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Later, when asked by reporters, he stated that the judges had made a “political decision.”
“We have a situation where the security of our country is at stake, and it’s a very, very serious situation, so we look forward, as I just said, to seeing them in court,” Trump commented.
Washington and Minnesota have both alleged that the executive order harmed their businesses and universities, preventing students and faculty from traveling abroad for fear of being stuck in lands not their own.
Legislators on both sides who opposed the ban praised the ruling and urged for Trump to back down.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) took a stance on the quotes Trump made towards the court after the ruling regarding the “political decision” the judges had made.
“President Trump ought to see the handwriting on the wall that his executive order is unconstitutional,” Schumer said, “he should abandon this proposal, roll up his sleeves and come up with a real, bipartisan plan to keep us safe.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) shared his thoughts seriously as he praised the court system.
“If the President were serious about bringing our country together and keeping us safe,” Leahy said, “he would rescind this arbitrary and discriminatory order and recall what makes our country great.”
Many Republicans disagree with the executive order or do not remember having been consulted about it before it was decreed. Some Republicans have commented on their lack of even having heard of the order until they were allowed to read it for themselves. Senior House leaders, including Paul Ryan (R-WI.) did not see the text of the order until after it was signed. According to Antonia Ferrier, a spokesman for Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that “it was public” that executive orders were arriving soon, but it seems much of the party did not know about the full extent of the order until it was released.
The states challenging the executive order have evidence of statements made by the president about his intent to put a Muslim ban into place, but the court has decided to make its own decisions about the topic.
“The public has a powerful interest in national security and in the ability of an elected president to enact policies, and on the other, the public also has an interest in free flow of travel, in avoiding separation of families, and in freedom from discrimination. These competing public interests do not justify a stay,” said the court in an official document detailing the court’s decision on the travel ban..
The ruling did not affect the cap of 50,000 refugees to be allowed into the US during the 2017 fiscal year. The secretary of state and the secretary of homeland security have have both been directed by the order to prioritize claims made by persecuted religious minorities stemming from Trump’s executive order.