The judges said the directive "drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination". She noted that two non-Muslim nations, the Philippines and Venezuela, weren't included among the banned countries even though they are home to terrorist groups and fail to help verify information about people attempting to travel to the United States.
The appeals court questioned a government argument that the president has wide authority to halt the entry of people to the United States. And one of the dissenting judges asks, well, how far back should the courts go when deciding whether an order is constitutional? The high court, now at full strength with the addition of Trump's nominee, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, has divided in the past on immigration issues.
"It looks increasingly likely that the justices will have to confront the travel ban - and whether to review today's ruling - sometime this fall", Vladeck said. Separate federal court decisions staying Trump's ban are also under consideration by the California-based Ninth Circuit.
"Our members told us the travel bans were bad for their businesses, bad for their travelers and bad for jobs in the travel industry", said ACTE executive director Greeley Koch.
The judges used especially harsh language in a 79-page decision warning that government missteps in dealing with religion can foster hostility and division and encourage persecution of minorities.
The issue at hand: whether a lower court acted properly in issuing a nationwide injunction to keep the order from being enforced. Regardless of its ruling, CNN notes that the order can not be put into effect if one appeals court has barred it from being enacted.
It takes a majority of the court, five votes, to put a lower court ruling on hold.
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Three judges dissented on the ground that the executive order did not mention religion. It is so appropriate that the bedrock principle of religious freedom has again been affirmed by a Court sitting just blocks from where Jefferson's Statute for Religious Freedom was signed. Subsequent controversies have distracted from Trump's agenda, including his firing of FBI Director James Comey amid the bureau's investigation into potential campaign ties to Russian Federation. The association's president, Beth Baron, a professor at the City University of New York's Graduate Center, said in a statement that the Fourth Circuit's ruling "reaffirmed what MESA and our partners in this lawsuit have been saying from the beginning: President Trump's Muslim ban violates the U.S. Constitution".
Some have argued statements made before Trump took office should be inadmissible into the ruling.
The second Executive Order on travel ban excluded Iraq from the list of countries facing the ban.
"Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute", Gregory wrote.
The ruling had a partisan tinge. All three judges were appointed to the 4th Circuit by Republican presidents.
A 2015 Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Kennedy has become a pivotal precedent in the legal fight. His administration will likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although Kennedy wrote only for himself and Justice Samuel Alito, the opinion represented the controlling reasoning for the splintered court.
"The campaign statements here are probative of goal because they are closely related in time, attributable to the primary decision maker, and specific and easily connected to the challenged action", read the majority opinion. Courts have examined and cited then-candidate Trump's remarks.
The second order was meant to overcome the legal issues posed by the original ban, but it was blocked by judges before it could go into effect on March 16.