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Trump Travel Ban Dealt Blow by San Francisco Appeals Court

25 December 2017

A federal appeals court in San Francisco Friday struck down part of President Trump's third travel ban.

The court, which heard oral arguments in the case last month, ruled that Trump exceeded his authority in issuing the September 24 travel ban proclamation.

9th Circuit Judges Michael Daly Hawkins, Ronald Gould and Richard Paez issued a 71-page joint opinion saying the president's order arrogates power that Congress reserved through legislation it passed.

In concluding that the President had probably failed to obey immigration laws passed by Congress, the Ninth Circuit Court concluded that Trump appeared to have (1) exceeded powers given by Congress to bar entry into the USA of foreign nationals, (2) failed to make the specific finding imposed by Congress that the foreign nationals being kept out would harm United States interests, (3) violated a congressionally-imposed bar [on discrimination] based on the nationality of those excluded, and (4) lacked the authority under his own Executive powers to impose the curbs without explicit power given by Congress.

"We conclude that the Proclamation conflicts with the statutory framework of the INA by indefinitely nullifying Congress's considered judgments on matters of immigration", the 9th Circuit panel added.

"It can not be in the public interest that a portion of this country be made to live in fear", the court wrote.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said the agency is pleased that the Supreme Court has already allowed the government to implement the proclamation and keep Americans safe while the matter is litigated. "We continue to believe that the order should be allowed to take effect in its entirety".

President Trump just commuted his first sentence - here's what we know
Trump also pointed to bipartisan expressions of support for review of the case from over 100 former high-ranking U.S. The commutation does not vacate Rubashkin's conviction and leaves in place a parole term and restitution obligation.

As Denniston notes, the Ninth Circuit opinion is noteworthy for its strong rejection of Trump's claim to virtually unlimited and unreviewable presidential power to exclude aliens, regardless of any limitations imposed by Congress. Letting the president claim such boundless authority would be a risky breach of separation of powers whose implications go far beyond the travel ban.

A District Court in California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the transgender military ban, making it the fourth federal court to do so.

The court, however, limited its ruling so that the injunction against the ban only applies to thoses with no bona fide relationship to the United States.

A separate challenge, brought by civil liberties groups, is pending in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, which also heard arguments this month.

This is the third time the 9th Circuit has ruled against a version of the travel ban.

Immigrant-rights advocates challenged the policy, arguing Mr. Trump didn't justify the ban, that it overstepped his powers and that it amounted to unconstitutional discrimination.

The commander-in-chief is in charge of the U.S. Armed Forces, but doesn't have a say in who serves in the military.

Trump Travel Ban Dealt Blow by San Francisco Appeals Court