Source: Huffington Post
By Cristian Farias
The court said that the president’s executive order “drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”
In yet another setback for the Trump administration, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday refused to lift a nationwide injunction that halted a key provision of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on six predominantly Muslim nations.
The ruling is the most bruising the White House has suffered in its attempts to defend the ban, as it was rendered by 13 judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit — which deemed the case important enough to skip the usual three-judge process that the vast majority of cases go through.
U.S. Chief Circuit Judge Roger Gregory wrote that the text of Trump’s executive order, which was challenged in courts across the country for targeting members of a particular faith, “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”
“Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute,” wrote U.S. Chief Circuit Judge Roger Gregory in a ruling that largely upheld the original block on the travel ban. “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.”
Ten of the 13 judges who heard the case, all of them appointed by Democratic presidents, voted to keep Trump’s travel restrictions on hold. Of the 10, Gregory had the court’s majority decision and four of his colleagues issued individual opinions that offered different grounds, some narrower than others, for concluding that the travel ban is likely invalid under immigration law and the Constitution.
“Laid bare, this Executive Order is no more than what the President promised before and after his election: naked invidious discrimination against Muslims,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge James Wynn. “Such discrimination contravenes the authority Congress delegated to the President in the Immigration and Nationality Act … and it is unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause.”
The three dissenting judges, all Republican appointees, wrote separate opinions condemning the ruling, each offering different reasons why Trump’s executive order is lawful. U.S. Circuit Judge Dennis Shedd lamented “the larger ramifications of this decision” for the nation’s safety.
“Regrettably, at the end of the day, the real losers in this case are the millions of individual Americans whose security is threatened on a daily basis by those who seek to do us harm,” Shedd wrote.