9th Circuit Says President Trump's Third Travel Ban Violates Federal Law

Second appeals court rejects Trump request to delay transgender troop enlistment

A decidedly anti-Trump appeals court issued yet another ruling Friday blocking most of President Trump's latest version of his travel ban, finding that the White House exceeded its powers.

The court, which heard oral arguments in the case last month, ruled that Trump exceeded his authority in issuing the September 24 travel ban proclamation. But the 9th Circuit said that the president had engaged in unconstiutional "nationality discrimination".

The Trump administration had lightly modified the list of countries from the first two version of its ban, in what appeared to be an attempt to to avoid the appearance of the Muslim ban the candidate touted on the campaign trail.

"The Executive can not without assent of Congress supplant its statutory scheme with one stroke of a presidential pen", the court said in its ruling.

"We conclude that the Proclamation conflicts with the statutory framework of the INA by indefinitely nullifying Congress's considered judgments on matters of immigration", the 9th Circuit panel added.

The opinion does not grapple with some of the thorniest legal questions raised by Trump's travel ban orders: whether they're unconstitutional because they stem from his calls for a Muslim ban during the presidential campaign a year ago or similar sentiments he has hinted at while in office.

In the opinion, the judges wrote that allowing the ban to take effect would be against the public interest.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said the agency is pleased that the Supreme Court has already allowed the government to implement the proclamation and keep Americans safe while the matter is litigated.

The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit decision largely upheld an injunction issued by a Hawaii-based judge in October.

The court, however, limited its ruling so that the injunction against the ban only applies to thoses with no bona fide relationship to the United States.

This is the third time the 9th Circuit has ruled against a version of the travel ban.

"National security alone is not a "talismanic incantation" that once invoked, can support any and all exercise of executive power under" immigration law, the decision said.

The other lawsuit was filed in federal court in Maryland by the International Refugee Assistance Project and other groups and is now pending before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia. The legal battle over Trump's travel ban is likely to return to the Supreme Court soon - an outcome I thought likely ever since the Court dismissed as moot the cases involving Travel Ban 2.0, after that order expired.

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