Donald Trump’s travel ban is unconstitutional, says US appeals court
President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban on travellers from six largely Muslim countries is unconstitutional because it discriminates against Muslims because of their religion, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday
In a 9-4 vote, the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said it examined statements made by Trump and other administration officials, as well as the ban itself, and concluded that it is “unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam.”
The court upheld a ruling by a federal judge in Maryland who issued an injunction barring enforcement of the ban against people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen who have bona fide relationships with people in the US.
The US Supreme Court has already agreed to hear the travel ban case in April. In December, the High Court said the ban could be fully enforced while appeals made their way through the courts.
In its ruling, the 4th Circuit used soaring language to criticise the ban, saying it has a “much broader deleterious effect” than banning certain foreign nationals.
The court said the ban “denies the possibility of a complete, intact family to tens of thousands of Americans.”
“On a fundamental level, the Proclamation second-guesses our nation’s dedication to religious freedom and tolerance,” Chief Justice Roger Gregory wrote for the court in the majority opinion.
Trump has said the ban is a legitimate measure to protect national security.
The ruling was the second time the 4th Circuit has rejected a travel ban. In May, the court cited Trump’s remarks on Muslim travellers while rejecting an earlier version of the ban, finding it “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”
Trump announced his initial travel ban on citizens of certain Muslim-majority nations soon after taking office in January, bringing havoc and protests to airports around the United States.
A federal judge in Seattle soon blocked it, and courts since then have wrestled with the restrictions as the administration has rewritten them.
The latest version blocks travellers from the listed countries to varying degrees, allowing for students from some of the countries, while blocking other business travellers and tourists, and allowing for admissions on a case-by-case basis.