Trumped in court: travel ban suspension upheld

1:49 pm on 10 February 2017

A US appeals court unanimously has upheld a temporary suspension of President Donald Trump's order that restricted travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump Photo: AFP

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that the government had not offered "any evidence" of national security concerns that justified the travel ban, and no evidence that anyone from the seven countries affected had perpetrated a terrorist attack in the US.

The ruling came in a challenge to Mr Trump's order filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota. Federal judge James Robart suspended the order last Friday and the appeals court heard arguments earlier this week.

The two states had offered evidence that even a temporary reinstatement of the ban would cause harm, the appeals court said.

The US Supreme Court will likely determine the case's final outcome.

Mr Trump called the appellate court ruling a "political decision," and vowed his administration would ultimately prevail.

"We'll see them in court," Mr Trump told reporters who had gathered outside his press secretary's office. "It's a political decision."

Mr Trump said he did not view the ruling as a major setback for his White House.

"This is just a decision that came down, but we're going to win the case," he said.

A Justice Department spokesperson said the department was reviewing the ruling and "considering its options".

Mr Trump's executive order, signed on 27 January, imposed a 120-day halt on refugees entering the US and barred citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

It sparked protests and chaos at US and overseas airports in the weekend that followed.

After the initial ruling suspending the ban, Mr Trump launched a series of Twitter attacks on Judge Robart.

In one Twitter post, Mr Trump said, "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!"

Donald Trump's own Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, described the US president's attacks on the judiciary as "demoralising" and "disheartening".

However, Mr Trump insisted those comments had been "misinterpreted".

-Reuters/RNZ

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs