One of the first executive orders Donald Trump issued in his first week as the President of the United States was to ban the travel of anyone from seven Muslim countries. Last Thursday, a federal appeals court rejected the request to reinstate Trump’s travel ban.
A 29-page opinion was issued by a panel of three judges at the 9th Circuit which flatly rejected the legal arguments of the President. The legal arguments presented by Trump included his assertion about how a national security decree should not be questioned.
According to the court, federal courts review and even invalidate the constitutionality of all the actions that are taken by the President to advocate national security. They routinely do so even during critical times of conflict. The court added by saying that although courts owe deference to the policy determinations of the President with respect to national security and immigration, the federal judiciary still retains the authority and the right to adjudicate executive action, especially to constitutional challenges.
The ruling means that all those who have legal visas can travel and stay in the country including the people that are from the seven Muslim countries that the executive order named.
The decision prompted the White House to make a bellicose response. As a matter of fact, President Trump attacked the three federal judges that went against him for not providing him with unlimited power.
Donald Trump enters his third week in the Oval Office and he is already experiencing the first major impediment to his power from the country’s federal judiciary as the travel ban gets litigated continuously.
The ruling of the 9th Circuit was narrow. Strictly speaking, it only upheld the nationwide suspension or stay of Pres. Trump’s travel ban which was issued by a judge from the U.S. District Court in Washington last weekend. The judge that issued the ruling was appointed years ago by former Pres. George W. Bush.
Regardless, the ruling of the 9th Circuit established what most would consider as a clear path to put the decrees made by the president in question. The 9th Circuit said two states might sue in aid of thousands of foreign employees, residents, and students who have legal visas. The two states may reveal Trump’s sweeping ban as unconstitutional as it violates courts’ access to due process (under the Bill of Rights, Fifth Amendment). The ruling, however, did not state whether Trump’s executive order on travel ban was unconstitutional under the First Amendment, Establishment Clause which bars the government from any religious persecution.
Also, the court lambasted the present administration for its backtracking and sloppy drafting due to the uncertainty around whether the travel ban would also apply to the green-card holders. The White House said it did but it later backtracked saying that the executive order does not apply to the legal residents.
Furthermore, the court had also rejected the President’s argument to reel in TROs or the temporary restraining orders so they would not apply nationwide. Basically, Trump wanted immigration officials to enforce the travel ban anywhere in the country if the federal court did not block it.