A federal appeals court panel on Friday ruled that President Trump's third entry ban violates the law — although the judges put their own decision on hold until the Supreme Court can weigh in.
In a 77-page decision, the three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that Trump had again exceeded his lawful authority in issuing the latest ban and that he had not made a legally sufficient finding that entry of those blocked would be "detrimental to the interests of the United States."
The ruling, however, is of little immediate consequence, as the judges said they would put it on hold pending consideration by the Supreme Court, which has allowed the ban to take effect.
In a statement, Justice Department spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said: "We are pleased that the Supreme Court has already allowed the government to implement the Proclamation and keep all Americans safe while this matter is litigated. We continue to believe that the order should be allowed to take effect in its entirety."
Trump's latest ban blocks various travelers from eight countries from entering the United States. Two federal judges had earlier blocked its implementation, at least in part, although the Supreme Court this month allowed it to fully take effect while the legal battle ran its course through the courts.
The 9th Circuit panel said it would let stand a lower court judge's block of the ban, although it would allow the government to enforce the measure on those without any bona fide U.S. ties, such as family here. The three judges considering the matter in the 9th Circuit — Michael Daly Hawkins, Ronald M. Gould and Richard A. Paez — were appointed by President Bill Clinton.
Neal Katyal, a lawyer representing the state of Hawaii, which had sued over the ban, wrote on Twitter that the court had issued "a thorough repudiation of Trump's position on both substance & procedure." The Justice Department has argued that the president operated within his authority and that the latest ban was inked after an extensive process in which the United States negotiated with other countries for data on their travelers.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit is considering a separate challenge to the ban.