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Published: Tue, May 09, 2017
Research | By Elias Hubbard

Judges raise thorny questions about revised Trump travel ban

Judges raise thorny questions about revised Trump travel ban

In reviewing the decision of a federal district judge in Maryland, who blocked the ban from going into effect, the judges of the 4 Circuit focused nearly exclusively on the question of whether Trump's campaign pledge to ban Muslims should be taken into consideration when weighing the constitutionality of the travel ban.

The U.S Department of Justice appealed Chuang's ruling, and on Monday, oral arguments before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals began.

Recall, President Trump said he'd close the border to Muslims on the campaign trail, hinted at it again this year.

President Trump signs a revised executive order for a U.S.travel ban in January.

"Alliance for Justice has serious concerns about Judge Thapar's fitness for elevation to a higher court, and urges senators and the public to closely scrutinize his record", the group said. When Trump signed the order, the administration balked at characterizing it as such.

"I think the intent of the travel ban was very clear", he said. At one point he asserted that the order would be lawful if it had been issued by another president who had not made inflammatory comments about Islam.

But judges repeatedly threw Mr. Trump's words back at his legal team. Both judges were appointed to the court by Republican presidents. Critics say Trump's executive order is nothing more than the Muslim ban he promised during his presidential campaign.

Regardless of how the 13 judges rule, the matter is likely to be decided ultimately by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Officials say the new executive order only applied to foreign nationals outside the USA without a valid visa.

A federal judge in Hawaii issued an injunction, and so did a judge in Maryland, responding to a lawsuit from the International Refugee Assistance Project and the American Civil Liberties Union. It is not clear when a ruling will come down from Mondays hearing. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled there was "significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus" toward Muslims in the revised order.

On Monday, Spicer was asked by ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega why the president's campaign website was still calling for "preventing Muslim immigration".

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Jeffrey Wall, the acting solicitor general, representing the Trump administration, argued that the executive order had a legitimate national security objective, allowing the government to assess the reliability of background information on visa applicants from six countries associated with terrorism.

Three judges appointed by President Bill Clinton will hear the Trump administration's appeal of Hawaii's so-far successful challenge to the president's travel ban that targets six predominantly Muslim countries.

Lower courts have disagreed, saying Mr. Trump's behavior during the campaign - and statements he made since taking office that he was trying to achieve the same results - have tainted the actions he takes now. Two recused themselves over potential conflicts of interest, including the conservative J Harvie Wilkinson, Mr Wall's father-in-law.

After the five judges are announced on Monday, the Trump administration will reportedly continue to periodically roll out even more conservative names until all of the vacancies are filled. "I don't want them in the country".

"Is the executive not entitled to some deference?" asked Judge Dennis W. Shedd. Numerous judges on Monday suggested they could not ignore the president's previous statements.

"Unregulated, unvetted travel is not a universal privilege, especially when national security is at stake", Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said at the time.

"The order is completely unprecedented in our nation's history", Jadwat said.

Just minutes before the hearing began, the pledge appeared to have been removed from Trump's campaign website, where it had been since December 2015.

National security is not at risk, the former officials said, because travelers are already subjected to vigorous vetting before visas are issued.

Wall said the president needs only a facially legitimate and bona fide reason for the order.

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