A federal appeals court upheld Thursday a lower court’s temporary block of key provisions of President Donald Trump‘s revised executive order banning travel from some Middle East and African countries.
In the decision, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Roger Gregory writes that the executive order “in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.” The opinion continues that while the president has power to limit entry to the country, “that power is not absolute.”
“It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” Gregory writes.
Trump’s order was his second attempt to limit immigration and travel to the United States. In February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a bid for an emergency stay from the Department of Justice in response to a Washington state federal judge’s temporary restraining order blocking the president’s original order.
In March, Trump issued the revised order which he would later call a “watered-down” version of the first. Trump’s and his associates’ comments about their desire to prevent Muslims from entering the country during the presidential campaign were highlighted in rulings by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocking the latest attempt. The government argued that the order was not intended to discriminate on the basis of religion.
Both the White House and Department of Justice released statements critical of the decision Thursday, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledging that his department “will seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court.”
“This Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend the power and duty of the Executive Branch to protect the people of this country from danger,” read the department’s statement.
The White House wrote that the country needs “every available…