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Protests before travel ban hearing in Seattle

16 May 2017

The 4th Circuit heard the case with all its judges, a step the 9th Circuit declined to take.

"How is a court to know if it's in fact a Muslim ban in the guise of national security justification", asked Circuit Judge Ronald Gould, one of three from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals considering the case. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.

At a Seattle courtroom on Monday, in the latest battle in the legal war over President Trump's now suspended travel ban, lawyers and judges pushed and pulled on the swirling questions over Trump's intentions and the legal limits on executive power.

The three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had tough questions for each side.

The latest twist in the months-long legal battle, which has dealt a stinging setback to Trump's young administration, took place in the western city of Seattle where a crowd rallied in protest at the contested immigration ban. In February, the court handed down a decision declining to reinstate the first travel ban just two days after oral arguments.

"The three judges - all Clinton appointees - grappled with whether to consider Trump's statements during the presidential campaign about banning Muslims".

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The scope of Trump's revamped ban, signed in early March, was reduced from his original January effort, which blocked travelers from seven-majority Muslim countries, including Iraq, as well as all refugees.

The 9th Circuit previously blocked Trump's first executive order.

As CNN notes, the administration appears to be hoping that there will be a conflict between the Ninth Circuit's decision and another pending decision on the same executive order from the Fourth Circuit, where a 13-judge panel heard arguments last week.

Although President Trump campaigned promising a Muslim ban, the government argues the order is not meant to discriminate. The president of the US has broad powers to make such changes in the interest of national security. "There was no reference to the Japanese in that executive order and look what happened", Paez said. "This order is aimed at aliens overseas, who themselves don't have constitutional rights", Wall said.

The 9th Circuit blocked Trump's first travel ban, and now a different set of judges on the panel will weigh a revised version.

Katyal said Trump had said and done enough after becoming president to back up their claim that the order amounted to religious discrimination.

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They also argue that the while the president has broad authority over immigration, that power extends only as far as Congress has granted it. Because Congress has already adopted a scheme regarding when people may be excluded from the country for terror-related activities, the president can not override that with his travel ban, they argue. Section 6 of the executive order imposes, with exceptions, a 120-day suspension on both travel to the United States and decisions on applications for refugee status under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments Monday over President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban.

Wall was formerly a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and has argued before the nation's top court 11 times. That caused the State Department to tightly rein in monthly arrivals when the cap was in effect.

The federal appellate judges are considering rulings by two federal judges against the travel ban. Neither U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland nor Watson in Hawaii bought the administration's reasoning that the ban is about national security.

He adds that "the anti-Muslim views" behind the travel ban have caused "significant stress and anxiety for me", and that "I worry I may not be safe in this country". The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled similarly. But the scope of the rulings differed.

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