10 Feb 2017

Donald Trump Lost

On Thursday night (9 February), a federal appeals court upheld Trump’s block on the travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries. The three judges ruled unanimously to allow citizens of these seven majority-Muslim countries to continue travelling to the US. You can read the full text of the ruling here. Jeffery Toobin, a CNN political analyst, said: “The Trump administration has lost dramatically and completely.”

The judges wrote: “The government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.”

“Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all.”
The judges added: “the public has a powerful interest in national security and in the ability of an elected president to enact policies… the public also has an interest in free flow of travel, in avoiding separation of families, and in freedom from discrimination.”

Trump reacted to the ruling by tweeting: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

Hillary Clinton celebrated the decision, tweeting simply “3-0.”

But Trump will come face to face with other judges’ decisions if he continues to challenge the constitution and the system of check and balances. As the judges said: “There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.” They also said: “Although our jurisprudence has long counseled deference to the political branches on matters of immigration and national security, neither the Supreme Court nor our court has ever held that courts lack the authority to review executive action in those arenas for compliance with the Constitution.”

The court challenged Trump’s position that there was any urgency or threat to national security that would justify reinstating the travel ban. The administration “could have provided the court “with classified information” but it did not, said the court.

Trump has mentioned in the past that he would take the case to the Supreme Court. But before it goes to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department could request a hearing to review the three-judge panel ruling.