Appeals court rules that latest Trump travel ban is unconstitutional

Supporters surround a group who perform the Islamic midday prayer outside the White House in Washington Saturday Jan. 27 2018 during a rally on the one-year anniversary of the Trump Administration's first partial travel ban on citizens from seven

Writing for the majority in Monday's decision, Chief Judge Roger Gregory said that judicial second-guessing of the president was a delicate matter but was required in this case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco has also struck down the ban, saying the president violated limits put in place by Congress. The Supreme Court is already scheduled to decide the legality of the travel ban, holding oral arguments in April and deciding by the term's conclusion at the end of June.

US Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the 4th Circuit ruling "does not alter the status quo, and we look forward to ultimate resolution of these issues by the Supreme Court".

The ban restricts travel from eight nations, six of them predominantly Muslim: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, North Korea and Venezuela.

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"Our constitutional system creates a strong presumption of legitimacy for presidential action, and we often defer to the political branches on issues related to immigration and national security", Gregory wrote. Trump has said the policy is needed to protect the United States from terrorism by Islamic terrorists.

"Today's ruling affirms that they are being unjustly targeted by this ban", said Mariko Hirose, the group's litigation director.

The administration has argued the ban is necessary to safeguard national security, but each iteration of the ban has run into legal disputes.

During a hearing before the 4th Circuit in December, Deputy U.S. Assistant Attorney General Hashim Mooppan told the judges that the president has broad authority to bar foreign nationals he believes would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.

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The court is the second federal appeals court to rule against the ban. He said the latest restrictions were the product of a global, multiagency review that found the specified countries do not share enough security-related information with the U.S. He said the ban is created to protect the nation from terrorism and other threats.

In both of the cases, the entry restrictions marked the third attempt by President Trump to try to fashion an order that would be upheld in the courts, after two previous attempts had failed. In May, the court cited Trump's remarks on Muslim travelers while rejecting an earlier version of the ban, finding it "drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination".

That evidence, recounted in detail in the court's main opinion, included anti-Muslim statements that the President had made when he was campaigning for the office, but also similar statements he had made since taking office some 13 months ago.

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