Court Orders Dismissal of Trump Muslim Travel Ban Challenges

Zainab Chaudry, from left, Zainab Arain and Megan Fair with the Council on American-Islamic Relations stand outside of the Supreme Court for a rally opposing the travel ban as the court hears arguments about President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority countries on April 25, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Monday tossed out three lawsuits challenging President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries, a victory for the Trump administration in its yearslong defense of the ban.

A three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a federal judge in Maryland made a mistake when he refused to dismiss the lawsuits after the Supreme Court upheld the ban in 2018 in a separate legal challenge filed in Hawaii.

The ban, put in place just a week after Trump took office in January 2017, sparked an international outcry from Muslim advocates and others who said it was rooted in religious bias.

“We conclude that the district court misunderstood the import of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hawaii and the legal principles it applied,” Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote in the unanimous decision.

Justin Cox, an attorney with the International Refugee Assistance Project, the lead plaintiff in the case, said the groups who sued are considering their legal options, which could include asking the panel to reconsider its ruling, appealing to the full 4th Circuit court of 15 judges or asking the Supreme Court to hear the case.

“The panel definitely got the legal issues wrong. It seems unlikely that this will be the final word,” Cox said.

“Basically, it comes down to can the president shield obviously bigoted actions by essentially laundering them through Cabinet officials coming up with neutral-seeming criteria?” he said.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on the ruling.

During a hearing in January, Mark Mosier, an attorney representing U.S. citizens and permanent residents whose relatives have been unable to enter the U.S. because of the ban, asked the court to allow the legal challenges to proceed.

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Source: Religion News Service