SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A federal appeals court in San Francisco has refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday wouldn’t block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban and allowed previously barred travelers to enter the U.S. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible.
U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order halting the ban last week after Washington state and Minnesota sued. The Justice Department appealed to the 9th Circuit.
Government lawyers argued that the ban was a “lawful exercise” of the president’s authority and that the seven countries have raised terrorism concerns.
The administration said the seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — have raised terrorism concerns. The states argued that the ban targets Muslims and unconstitutionally blocked entry based on religion.
The federal appeals court says the U.S. government hasn’t shown a likelihood it will succeed in appealing to reinstate President Donald Trump’s travel ban. It also hasn’t shown that failure to reinstate the ban would cause irreparable injury.
A law professor says the “million-dollar question” is whether the Trump administration would appeal.
That could run the risk of having only eight justices to hear the case, which could produce a tie and leave the lower-court ruling in place.
Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law in Houston, said, “There’s a distinct risk in moving this too quickly. But we’re not in a normal time, and Donald Trump is very rash. He may trump, pardon the figure of speech, the normal rule.”
The three-judge panel says Washington state proved it had the legal right to bring the lawsuit over President Donald Trump’s travel ban by alleging its universities would suffer harm. That was one of the questions that the judges considered.
Universities have complained about students and faculty getting stranded overseas.
The U.S. Justice Department has responded to a federal appeals court’s refusal to reinstate President Donald Trump travel ban, saying it “is reviewing the decision and considering its options.”
It’s the first day on the job for new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was sworn in at the White House earlier Thursday by Vice President Mike Pence.