Virginia court upholds block on Trump travel ban

Appeals court upholds block on Trump travel ban. Justice Department to take case to Supreme Court.

Ben Ariel ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

A Richmond, Virginia-based federal appeals court on Thursday refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on nationals from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S., The Hill reports.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement following the ruling that the Justice Department "strongly disagrees with the decision" and would "seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court."

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 10-3 ruling that Trump’s executive order "speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination."

In delivering the opinion of the court, Judge Roger Gregory wrote that Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute.

“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,” he wrote, according to The Hill.

In addition to being discriminatory, the court found that the order would delay and disrupt pending visa applications.

The court’s decision keeps a Maryland court’s order blocking the ban in place.

The order that was blocked was an updated order blocking citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Iraqi citizens, covered by an initial ban announced by Trump, will be allowed to travel to the United States under the new order.

The order is temporary, until proper vetting procedures – a central campaign promise of Trump’s – can be implemented.

Trump’s first order was blocked last month by a federal judge in Washington state. The block was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gregory said Trump’s order can’t be separated from the narrative linking it to the animus that inspired it.

“In light of this, we find that the reasonable observer would likely conclude that EO-2’s primary purpose is to exclude persons from the United States on the basis of their religious beliefs,” he wrote.

The government is waiting for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on its appeal of a separate order from a Hawaii judge blocking the ban. Arguments in that case were heard on May 15.