President Donald Trump suffered another legal blow on Thursday when a federal appeals court refused to reinstate his executive order temporarily banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. This episode would be comical if were not so serious an issue.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Trump administration failed to offer any evidence that national security concerns justified immediately restoring the ban, which he launched two weeks ago.
Shortly after the court issued its 29-page ruling, Trump tweeted (in capital letters): “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.”
The 9th Circuit ruling, upholding last Friday’s decision by U.S. District Judge James Robart to suspend the order, does not resolve the lawsuit. It relates only to whether to lift an emergency halt to Trump’s order put in place by a lower court.
Trump, who took to the Oval office on Jan. 20, faces long odds in getting the ban restored while litigation over his executive order proceeds. To ultimately win, the Justice Department will have to present evidence that people from those countries represent a domestic threat, legal experts said.
Trump says his executive order aims to head off attacks by Islamist militants. He has voiced frustration at the legal challenge to his order, calling Robart a “so-called judge” whose “ridiculous” opinion “essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country.”
The 9th Circuit judges said more legal arguments would be needed to decide the actual fate of Trump’s order.
While the court said it could not decide whether the order discriminated against a particular religion until the case had been “fully briefed,” it added that the states had presented evidence of “numerous statements” by the president “about his intent to implement a ‘Muslim ban.’”
The administration argued that the courts do not have access to the same classified information about threats to the country that the president does. The judges countered that “courts regularly receive classified information under seal.”
The three judges said the states had shown that even temporary reinstatement of the ban would cause harm.
Meanwhile, Democrats, the minority party in Congress, celebrated.
“This Administration’s recklessness has already done significant harm to families and undermined our fight against terror,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in an emailed statement.
But Tom Fitton from the conservative group Judicial Watch said on Twitter: “The Ninth Circuit ruling is a dangerous example of judicial overreach.”
A lot of uncertainty about how all this will play out, but we can be certain, Trump will not give up, watch this space.
Social Media, is going wild with Donald Trump’s antics, and as you can imagine his persistent use of twitter; adds fuel to the fire. This presidential campaign has started like a good TV drama, you can’t wait for the next episode.