Published: Tue, May 09, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Appeals court hears arguments on Trump's revised travel ban

Appeals court hears arguments on Trump's revised travel ban

President Donald Trump's amended travel ban will face a key test on Monday, when a United States appeals court is set to take on a case that has stymied the administration's controversial efforts to bar travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.

All 15 judges from the Federal Appeals Court will hear oral arguments for and against President Trump's executive order.

Given the public importance of the case and the need for a timely decision, the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals will head straight for a full-court, or "en banc" hearing - bypassing the usual initial three-judge panel - for the first time in a quarter-century.

Trump said last month that he is considering breaking up the 9th Circuit, a federal appeals court that covers Western states and which has always been a target of Republicans. The administration vowed that it would re-appeal the ruling and either revise its original executive order or write a new one from scratch.

Ten of them were appointed by Democrats, and four by Republicans.

"This is not a Muslim ban", Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall told the court, Reuters reported.

"Don't we get to consider what was actually said here and said very explicitly?" asked Judge James A. Wynn Jr., who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

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University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck, who signed onto a brief challenging the first iteration of the ban, said Korematsu's lesson is that "even - if not especially - when the government claims a discriminatory policy is justified by amorphous national security concerns, courts should treat such claims with great skepticism".

Justice Department lawyers say the court should evaluate the words of the executive order and the administration's explanation for its goal, avoiding "judicial psychoanalysis" of what Trump may have meant during the campaign. She also served in the U.S. Justice Department when George W. Bush was president. "Or is this a religious freedom case?"

In a 43-page decision, Chuang detailed many of Trump's statements about Muslims from the campaign trail and concluded that despite the significant changes to who was exempted by the executive order the second time around, "the history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the objective of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban".

The Muslim-ban language remained online until Monday afternoon, when they were scrubbed from the website shortly after Spicer was pressed on why the plan was still on the President's campaign website.

The court typically takes weeks after holding arguments to issue a written decision.

Justice Department lawyers want the Richmond-based appeals court to lift Chuang's injunction that applies only to the part of Trump's order that would temporarily block new visas for 90 days.

The revised travel order followed widespread confusion and protest in January after a first version caused deportations and detentions of people already aboard flights to the United States as the order was signed.

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