Trump's comments on Muslims could haunt him in appeals court

Protesters chant during a rally against travel ban at San Diego International Airport

Protesters chant during a rally against travel ban at San Diego International Airport

A panel of 13 appeals court judges in Virginia will hear a challenge to President Donald Trump's revised executive order targeting six predominantly Muslim countries.

A federal judge in Hawaii issued an injunction, and so did a judge in Maryland, responding to a lawsuit from the International Refugee Assistance Project and the American Civil Liberties Union. One of the central questions in the case is whether Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric and the way he and administration officials have referred to the executive order can be used against him, in order to prove whether it meant to discriminate against Muslims. "He's never repudiated what he said about the Muslim ban".

He called the ban "completely unprecedented", saying it has caused "extraordinary injury" to the plaintiffs, whose families can not visit them in the United States.

Jeffrey Wall, the acting solicitor general, however, argued that Trump's statements about Muslims prior to taking office should not be considered evidence of discrimination.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. EST.

ABC's Cecilia Vega asked Spicer: "If the White House is no longer calling this a Muslim ban as the president did initially, why does the president's website still explicitly call for preventing Muslim immigration and it 'says Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shut down of Muslims entering the United States?'"

- Parker Higgins (@xor) May 8, 2017Trump admin argues in court re Muslim ban that POTUS campaign statements shouldnt matter.

The Supreme Court could still wind up reviewing the case. The ACLU believes that this wasn't a national security goal, that this was a Muslim ban, and, because of that, a violation of the Establishment Clause.

"It is an archived press statement from 16 months ago", he said.

"We're not sure those governments are giving us good enough information".

That decision came just after a broader one issued in Hawaii that halted the travel ban as well as a 120-day suspension of the USA refugee admissions program. The order also seeks a ban for all refugees worldwide for 120 days, but that provision was blocked by the Hawaiian court. Actually, their filing said, not a single American has died in a terrorist attack on US soil at the hands of someone from those six nations in the last 40 years.

JUDGE DENNIS SHEDD: Let me follow up, then.

The judge's aren't expected to issue a ruling Monday.

Lawyers are arguing the case before judges of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

One of President Trump's top priorities will get a test in court today. They also skipped the initial step of having the case heard by a panel of just three judges.

And, if Trump's words are disregarded, is the travel ban on its face constitutional? In fact, in one week, on May 15, a different federal appeals court, the 9th Circuit, will hear arguments in a similar case brought by the state of Hawaii.

When Trump signed a 27 January executive order banning the entry of citizens from Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Libya, including permanent USA residents, it was seen as an implementation of his campaign promise.

Over the past few years, the Fourth Circuit ruled in a liberal manner on a number of cases, upholding a key part of Obamacare, overturning North Carolina's voter ID law, and siding with a transgender teen in a school bathroom battle. The statement appeared to have been removed shortly after the White House press briefing on Monday. Campaign statements do not show the official intent of government action, he said.

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