Washington, Dec 23: A federal appeals court has ruled against US President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban, saying that it “exceeds the scope of his delegated authority,” but that it was ultimately for the Supreme Court to decide.
The three-judge panel with the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled on Friday that Trump had again exceeded his lawful authority in issuing the latest ban and that he had not made a legally sufficient finding that entry of those blocked would be “detrimental to the interests of the US”, the New York Times reported.
The ruling, however, is of little immediate consequence, as the judges said they would put it on hold pending consideration by the apex court, which allowed the ban to take effect.
In a statement, Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said: “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has already allowed the government to implement the proclamation and keep all Americans safe while this matter is litigated. We continue to believe that the order should be allowed to take effect in its entirety.”
Trump’s September ban blocks various travellers from eight countries, six of them predominantly Muslim, from entering the US. Two federal judges had earlier blocked its implementation, at least in part, although the Supreme Court this month allowed it to fully take effect while the legal battle ran its course through the courts.
The administration said the restrictions would be in effect until those countries proved to the US that they had adequate screening. But the appeals court said that the ban was, in effect, an indefinite one, and that Congress did not give the President the authority to stop immigration from any country indefinitely.
Neal Katyal, who argued the case before the Ninth Circuit court for the state of Hawaii, hailed the decision. “We are very pleased the Court of Appeals recognized that the President’s latest travel ban is flatly illegal,” he said, “and that his order defies the law Congress has laid down”.
The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is considering a separate challenge to the ban.