Appeals court upholds block of Trump’s revised travel ban

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A federal appeals court has ruled against President Donald Trump’s revised order on immigration, stating that they are “unconvinced” that the measures which target six Muslim-majority countries are for reasons of national security.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 10-3 ruling, decided to uphold a lower court ruling. It was not immediately known whether Trump would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, though he previously vowed to do so if needed.

In the ruling, the judges said they were unconvinced that the measures were ordered for the sake of national security. Instead, they said, it appears more likely that they seek to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

“The Government’s asserted national security interest in enforcing Section 2(c) appears to be a post hoc, secondary justification for an executive action rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country,” the ruling said. “We remain unconvinced that Section 2(c) has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the President’s proposed Muslim ban.”

Nonetheless, the judges said they did not discount that the revised order could have some national security purpose. But, taken together, they said, the government’s asserted national security interest does not outweigh the competing harm to people as a result of a likely Establishment Clause violation.

Chief Judge Roger Gregory and Judges Diana Motz, Robert King, Albert Diaz, Henry Floyd, Pamela Harris, William Traxler Jr., Barbara Keenan, James Wynn Jr., and Stephanie Thacker agreed with the ruling. Judges Paul Niemeyer, Dennis Shedd, and G. Steven Agee, wrote a dissenting opinion.

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