Friday, 16 November, 2018

Judges question whether Trump's ban discriminates against Muslims

Judges question whether Trump's ban discriminates against Muslims Judges question whether Trump's ban discriminates against Muslims
Ellis Copeland | 17 May, 2017, 13:58

A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals expressed skepticism about some arguments against the ban, but also pressed the lawyer defending Trump's suspended policy about whether it discriminates against Muslims.

"The benefit of that standard.it doesn't call on courts to make these sorts of determinations - the second-guessing of national security determinations that they're sort of ill-equipped to do", Wall said.

However, the ACLU attorney's admission will have an impact when President Trump's travel ban goes before the U.S. Supreme Court in the next few weeks.

Spicer said Monday the executive order is fully lawful. Time and again, the Trump administration has resisted the characterization of the travel restrictions as a ban on Muslims - even though Trump, while campaigning for office, promised a "total and complete shutdown" on Muslims entering the United States. That kind of "remarkable showing" isn't possible, he said, with the thin evidence available to the ban's challengers.

A different federal appeals court - the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond - heard an appeal on May 8 over a separate court order blocking just the six-country travel ban.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in the nation's capital said she's "inclined to agree" that the travel ban is unlawful, but held off on a request to block it because of the pending appeals court cases.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, who is defending the travel ban that "over time, the president clarified that what he was talking about was Islamic terrorist groups and the countries that sponsor or shelter them".

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel must decide whether to uphold the decision made by a federal Judge in Hawaii that stopped the President's revised executive order taking effect.

This is the second time that the ninth circuit, which covers the western USA and is generally considered the most liberal of the appeals courts, has heard arguments over the travel ban.

But "we wouldn't be standing here", Mr Katyal said, if these comments were the only indication of what spurred the president to sign the travel ban.

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Judge Michael Daly Hawkins asked if Trump had ever said he was wrong about calling for a Muslim ban on the campaign trail.

Monday's hearing came exactly two months after a federal judge in Honolulu blocked key parts of the travel ban - one provision that suspends refugee resettlements, as well as sections that temporarily halt the issuance of new visas to citizens of the Muslim-majority countries Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who represented Hawaii, scoffed at the Department of Justice's argument and called the President's actions a "repeated pattern" that continued post election.

Katyal said no, and suggested the president could work with Congress on legitimate measures. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled similarly.

Judge Ronald Gould says each side has been allotted 30 minutes but will be granted more if necessary, given the significance of the case.

After Trump issued his initial travel ban on a Friday in late January, bringing chaos and protests to airports around the country, a Seattle judge blocked its enforcement nationwide - a decision that was unanimously upheld by a three-judge 9th Circuit panel.

The 9th Circuit is the same court that rejected efforts to reinstate Trump's first order in February.

Outside the Seattle courtroom a group of protesters gathered carrying signs with slogans like, "The ban is still racist", and "No ban, no wall". The ban stirred great controversy and opposition, and a USA judge granted emergency stay.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the arguments in its Seattle, Washington, courthouse for an hour starting at 9:30 a.m. The travel ban cases are expected to reach the Supreme Court at any rate, but that would likely be cemented if the 4th and 9th Circuits reach differing conclusions about its legality.

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