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Trump travel ban showdown headed for Supreme Court

The executive order issued by Trump seeks to temporarily cut off visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

world Updated: Jun 09, 2017 06:22 IST
Yashwant Raj
Protesters from Amnesty International rally against Donald Trump's executive order.
Protesters from Amnesty International rally against Donald Trump's executive order.(Reuters File)

In a major blow to President Donald Trump, a federal appeals court refused to vacate the block on his second attempt to prevent people from some Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, saying it discriminated on the basis of religion.

The Trump administration said it will go to Supreme Court against the ruling.

The Thursday order from the fourth circuit court of appeal, a high court, will have countrywide effect for now, unless overtaken by another appeals court or a superior court.

But, for now, the executive order the president had issued in March remains stayed and inoperable.

In the second executive order, Trump had narrowed the scope to deny fresh US visas to citizens of six Muslim-majority nations, not seven as in the first order issued in January — and they were Syria, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Somalia and Libya (Iraq was dropped) for an initial period of six months.

“President Trump’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe,” attorney general Jeff Sessions said in a statement, adding, “This Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend the power and duty of the Executive Branch to protect the people of this country from danger, and will seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court.”

The promise to prevent some Muslims from entering the US was one of the pillars of Trump’s White House run, a position he toned down significantly after proposing a complete ban. And it was one of the first executive orders he issued after taking office in January.

The first order ran into trouble with courts within hours of its announcement and execution and was stayed by multiple federal courts, which was eventually upheld by an appeals court, killing it effectively. Trump tried again in March, this time with a narrower scope and more time given for implementation.