Trump team deletes 'Muslim ban' statement from website

Angie Massey
May 16, 2017

There are 15 active judges on the Fourth Circuit and it will be announced early Monday morning whether any of the 15 will recuse themselves.

Protesters hold signs and march outside the United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., Monday, May 8, 2017.

Facing a grilling by Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judges, Wall, arguing on behalf of Trump, maintained that “this is not a Muslim ban.” The judges pressed Wall on how the 82 million people in the six countries affected by the executive order could be considered detrimental to the US, and Wall responded by shifting the blame to the administration of President Barack Obama, saying Trumps decision was made because it had singled out the six countries as providing inadequate information about people who applied for visas to the U.S.

Regardless of how the appeals courts rule, the matter is likely to be decided ultimately by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has the final say on constitutional matters in the United States.

The argument that the ban is purely secular has not fared well with judges when the Trump campaign website stated in advance that its goal was "preventing Muslim immigration", which has sounded to a number of courts like an unconstitutional religion-based restriction.

"This is not a Muslim ban", Wall told the judges on Monday.

The federal court judge in Maryland issued a nationwide block on the ban's core provision concerning travel from the short list of countries, saying the order raised the prospect of religious bias against Muslims.

The administration argues that the court shouldn't question the president's national security decisions based on campaign statements.

The revised travel ban was challenged in Maryland by refugee organizations and individuals who said they were being discriminated against because they were Muslim.

Under intense questioning, Wall acknowledged it could violate the Constitution to single out a religion for adverse treatment.

President Trump has said that it is not a Muslim ban but a measure to keep the USA safe from terror.

"Don't we get to consider what was actually said here and said very explicitly?" asked Judge James A. Wynn Jr., who was appointed by Democratic former President Barack Obama.

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Jadwat claims the administration has failed to provide a legitimate national security reason for the policy.

Jadwat said none of that mattered given the history of Trump's views in this case.

The judges pointed to Trump's statements during the campaign when he spoke of what he saw as the danger posed by Muslims and the need to keep out Muslim immigrants, refugees and visitors. Chief Judge Roger Gregory was given a recess appointment to the court by President Bill Clinton and was reappointed by President George W. Bush.

I think what the President made clear - granted, he clarified this over time - but he made clear in the months leading up to the election and after the inauguration that what he was talking about was the threat from terrorist groups that operate in particular countries that have been designated state sponsors of terror, or designated countries of concern because they're safe havens for terrorists.

"Can we look at his college speeches?"

Trump later shifted his focus away from religion to nationality, but administration officials frequently portrayed the executive order as a fulfillment of his campaign pledge.

This new executive order came out March 6.

The administration chose to fight the travel ban battle in the Fourth Circuit because its considered one of most conservative appeals courts in the country.

"The Establishment Clause prohibits denigrating and targeting religion", he said. The 9th Circuit is scheduled to hear another challenge to the revised travel ban next week.

The court said that two Republican-appointed judges - Judge Allyson K. Duncan and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III - won't hear the case. They also skipped the initial step of having the case heard by a panel of just three judges. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall at lectern. It was not immediately clear why Duncan is not on the panel. Both judges were appointed to the court by Republican presidents.

Associated Press reporter Sarah Rankin contributed to this report.

Other reports by GizPress

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