A U.S. federal appeals court decided unanimously Thursday to uphold the temporary suspension of President Donald Trump’s travel ban that restricted people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
CNBC reports that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling came in a challenge filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota, and the U.S. Supreme Court will likely make the final determination in the case.
As previously reported on The Root, U.S. District Judge James Robart temporarily blocked enforcement of Trump’s controversial entry ban in a ruling issued last week, following lawsuits by the states of Washington and Minnesota.
Justice Department lawyers appealed to the 9th Circuit, arguing that the president has the constitutional power to restrict entry to the United States and that the courts cannot second-guess his determination that such a step was needed to prevent terrorism.
The states said Trump’s travel ban harmed individuals, businesses and universities. Citing Trump’s campaign promise to stop Muslims from entering the U.S., they said the ban unconstitutionally blocked entry to people based on religion.
Both sides faced tough questioning during an hour of arguments Tuesday conducted by phone—an unusual step—and broadcast live on cable networks, newspaper websites and social media. It attracted a huge audience.
The 9th Circuit judges found fault with both the administration’s argument that the ban was motivated by fears of terrorism and the states’ arguments that the ban targeted Muslims.
Judge Richard Clifton, a George W. Bush appointee, argued that the ban couldn’t unfairly target Muslims when only 15 percent of the world’s Muslims are affected by the ban.
Judge Michelle T. Friedland, an Obama appointee, asked the Justice Department attorney if he had any evidence that connected the seven countries to terrorism.
The ban itself was set to expire in 90 days, which means that it could technically expire before the Supreme Court has a chance to make a ruling on it. As CNBC notes, the administration could also change the order, including extending its duration.
Read more at CNBC.