Match Point: Court Rules Against Trump on Travel Ban
A solid democracy is based on the principle of separation of powers - executive, legislative, judiciary. Fortunately, the US democracy is in good shape: no matter how angry the Donald Trump gets, if a court decides that his travel ban to refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries is unlawful, the US President has nothing to do.
On Thursday, federal appellate judges upheld an injunction issued by a lower court blocking President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily barring residents of seven mainly Muslim countries from entering the United States. Trump's order mandated a temporary pause in admission of refugees, a 90-day prohibition on entry by residents of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen, and an indefinite suspension of admission of Syrian refugees.
The restraining order was issued last Friday by a federal district judge in Seattle, James Robart, acting on a motion from the attorney general of Washington state.
The White House insists that the executive order was meant to provide time to develop a procedure for "extreme vetting" of Muslims seeking to enter the United States -something Trump proposed during the presidential campaign- and that it will help to reduce risk of terrorist attacks in US country.
The three-judge panel concluded that the order should remain in abeyance pending a final court ruling on its legality. The court suggested that the ban did not advance national security and that the administration had shown “no evidence” that anyone from the seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — had committed terrorist acts in the United States.
The ruling also rejected Mr. Trump’s claim that courts are powerless to review a president’s national security assessments. Judges have a crucial role to play in a constitutional democracy, the court said, as reported in The New York Times.
As usual, an angry Trump immediately took his personal Twitter account to announce his reaction in his usual teenager and bullying tone (his use of capital letters to be remarked): "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!"
The Trump Administration's intention is to appeal Thursday's decision. Trump can ask for a review of the panel's decision by the full 9th Circuit, or it can seek intervention by the US Supreme Court, which is still one short of its normal complement of nine members, reported EFE.
Since the day it was issued, the travel ban has spurred chaos at airports and protests nationwide as foreign travelers found themselves stranded at immigration checkpoints. The State Department said up to 60,000 foreigners’ visas were canceled in the days immediately after the ban was imposed.
The executive order also found strong rejection inside the White House. Roughly 1,000 State Department career employees have signed a memo denouncing the veto. Donald Trump also fired US attorney general Sally Yates after she told justice department lawyers not to defend his executive order banning entry for people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The White House said on Monday that Sally Yates had “betrayed” the department by refusing to enforce a legal order that was “designed to protect the citizens of the United States”.
To better understand how Trump’s travel ban broke from the normal executive order process, check out this graphic in The Washington Post.