US appeals court strikes down Trump's bid to lift freeze on immigration ban

The Justice Department, which spoke for the government at oral argument on Tuesday, said it was reviewing the decision and considering its options.

US appeals court strikes down Trump

In yet another blow to US President Donald Trump and a victory for protestors, a federal appeals court refused to reinstate a temporary travel ban he had ordered on people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

In the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-judge panel unanimously ruled that the Trump administration failed to offer any evidence that national security concerns justified immediately restoring the ban, which was launched late last month.


In its 29-page ruling, Court only decided on the narrow issue of whether or not to lift an emergency halt to Trump's order put in place by a lower court while that case is ongoing. The judges said more briefing would be needed on the merits of the arguments on both sides.

After the decision, Trump tweeted, "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!" He told reporters his administration ultimately would win the case and dismissed the ruling as "political."

The Justice Department, which spoke for the government at oral argument on Tuesday, said it was reviewing the decision and considering its options.

The states of Washington and Minnesota challenged Trump's order, which had sparked protests and chaos at US and overseas airports on the weekend after it was issued. The two states argued that Trump's ban violated constitutional protections against religious discrimination.

Even though the court said it could not decide whether the order discriminated against a particular religion until the case had been "fully briefed," it added that the states had presented evidence of "numerous statements" by the president "about his intent to implement a 'Muslim ban.'

The court also clarified that since the government failed to show that any person from the seven countries had perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States, there is no reason to reinstate the ban. To this, the administration argued that the courts do not have access to the same classified information about threats to the country that the president does. The judges countered that "courts regularly receive classified information under seal."

The ruling upholds the suspension which was ruled by US District Judge James Robart on Friday last week.

On January 27, Trump passed an executive order to bar entry for itizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and imposed a 120-day halt on all refugees, except refugees from Syria who are barred indefinitely.