US court says Trump travel ban unlawfully discriminates against Muslims

Katrina Barker
February 16, 2018

The Supreme Court already has said it will consider both issues in deciding the legality of the ban in the coming months.

President Donald Trump's tweet referring to an apocryphal story about bullets dipped in pigs' blood being used against Muslims resurfaced in a court case challenging his travel ban.

In December, in a sign that the Supreme Court may be receptive to upholding Trump's latest order, the court allowed it to go into effect as the two cases moved forward.

The ban restricts travel from eight nations, six of them predominantly Muslim: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela.

The appeals court called Trump's proclamation an "invisible yet impenetrable" barrier that "denies the possibility of a complete, intact family to tens of thousands of Americans". As it did in striking down an earlier version of the ban, the 4th Circuit's opinion issued Thursday said the ban violated the Constitution's prohibition on religious discrimination.

"The government's proffered rationale for the proclamation lies at odds with the statements of the president himself", wrote Chief Judge Roger Gregory.

The 4th Circuit found that Trump had expressed "what any reasonable observer could view as general anti-Muslim bias".

Trump's first travel ban was issued nearly a year ago, nearly immediately after he took office, and was aimed at seven countries.

The Trump administration had urged the court to disregard the president's pre-election statements, perhaps the court said in "implicit recognition of the rawness of the religious animus" in those statements.

The case is International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump. He said the ban is created to protect the nation from terrorism and other threats. Niemeyer criticized the court's majority, saying his colleagues applied "a novel legal rule that provides for the use of campaign-trail statements to recast later official acts of the president". The majority based its conclusion in large measure on statements Trump has made as a candidate and while in office.

"At bottom, the danger of this new rule is that it will enable a court to justify its decision to strike down any executive action with which it disagrees".

The court is the second federal appeals court to rule against the ban. This evidence includes President Trump's disparaging comments and tweets regarding Muslims; his repeated proposals to ban Muslims from entering the United States; his subsequent explanation that he would effectuate this "Muslim" ban by targeting "territories" instead of Muslims directly; the issuance of [executive order 1] and [executive order 2], addressed only to majority-Muslim nations; and finally the issuance of the Proclamation, which not only closely tracks [executive order 1] and [executive order 2], but which President Trump and his advisors described as having the same goal as [executive order 1] and [executive order 2].

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

Discuss This Article