Federal judges ask if revised travel ban discriminates against Muslims

The three-judge panel from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle was the second court in a week to review Trump's executive order banning citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.

But unlike the due process concerns driving the analysis in the last round, this time the appeals court must squarely wrestle with Trump's past statements about Muslims as it decides whether the lower court in Hawaii correctly blocked the revised ban.

The judges did not mention when they will issue a ruling on the matter.

The travel ban - key sections of which have been frozen by two courts - tried to temporarily shut down the U.S. refugee programme and suspend the issuance of new visas to residents of six Muslim-majority countries.

The three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals - all appointees of former President Bill Clinton - peppered the parties with questions in an hour-long televised hearing, while lawyers for Trump defended their client's proposal as justified for the nation's security.

This is significant when you recall Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates' testimony on Capitol Hill about her refusal to follow the President of the United States' executive order claiming the order is unconstitutional.

Perhaps seeking to avoid the question of what role the president's statements should play in their assessment, the judges yesterday also spent some time discussing whether the order might also violate federal immigration law - specifically, if it was not based on an adequate finding that the entry of non-citizens would be detrimental to the country's interests. A different panel of the 9th Circuit upheld the lower court decision on February 9, saying that the ban violated due process rights.

Lawyers for the Department of Justice were back in court today defending President Trump's revised travel ban.

Trump has frequently been critical of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. According to Mandel, when the reason for stopping someone at the border appears to be legitimate, courts may "neither look behind the exercise of that discretion"-by investigating the motive fuelling it-nor balance it against constitutional values".

JEFFREY WALL: Over time, the president clarified that what he was talking about were Islamic terrorist groups and the countries that shelter or sponsor them.

A USA government attorney insisted Monday that President Donald Trump's revised travel ban did not unfairly target Muslims, in the latest twist in a monthslong legal battle that has dogged the new United States administration.

Three ninth circuit judges questioned an attorney for the President about statements made during the campaign regarding Muslims. One judge even asked if there was anything other than "willful blindness" that would prevent them from doing so, a less than encouraging sign for Trump's lawyers as they headed to court Monday in Seattle.

Pressed at the daily briefing Monday about whether the president would repudiate his previous comments, White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to answer specifically but insisted that the ban was "fully lawful and will be upheld".

Katyal, when it was his turn to speak, said Wall "could not actually point to any disavowal" because "there is no such statement". The government argues that multiple court rulings striking down his original January 27 travel ban and blocking implementation of his revised order have set unprecedented limits on the president's authority to regulate the country's immigration policies.

Wall said that internment then, and the travel ban now, are absolutely different - and that he wouldn't be defending the executive order otherwise.

But Wall argued that the judges shouldn't be conducting a "wide ranging inquiry into subjective motivation" of Trump, pointing out that a U.S.

As part of that ruling, Watson cited Trump's campaign statements on Muslims as evidence that his executive order was discriminatory.

But Paez seemed troubled by the logical conclusion of Wall's argument, asking him if the executive order at issue in the infamous case of Korematsu v.

In December 2015, Trump issued a statement calling for a "complete and total shutdown" of Muslims entering the US.

At issue is, indeed, Trump's campaign promises that he would institute a "Muslim ban", a phrase that was until just last week still perusable on his campaign's website. "If you rule for him, you defer to the president in a way that history teaches is very risky". The U.S. Supreme Court, in another case, ruled similarly three years later. But "we wouldn't be standing here", Mr Katyal said, if these comments were the only indication of what spurred the president to sign the travel ban.

Vanessa Coleman