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9th Circuit judges skeptical of Trump's travel ban

Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

SAN FRANCISCO -- Two days after the Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump to enforce his travel ban, a federal appeals court appeared skeptical that it complied with the law.

During a hearing in Seattle before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a lawyer for the Trump administration argued the revised ban issued in September was based on careful study and tailored toward specific conditions in various countries.

Hashim M. Mooppan, arguing for the Trump administration, noted the ban allows for waivers and must be reviewed every 180 days.

"The restrictions are not one-size-fits-all," he said during the videotaped hearing, which was streamed live on the 9th Circuit website.

The ban blocks visitors and immigrants from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and North Korea and limits travel for some officials from Venezuela.

The three 9th Circuit judges, who previously struck down an earlier version of the ban, appeared dubious of several of the government's arguments, including a contention that the court had only limited power to review Trump's action.

 

The hearing primarily focused on whether the ban violated a 1965 immigration law that prohibited discrimination based on nationality.

Judge Richard A. Paez said that law appeared to require restrictions on entry to the U.S. to be time-bound, but that Trump's order was indefinite.

"The proclamation just seems to disregard everything Congress has laid out," Paez said.

Lawyers representing the challengers said the administration failed to provide an adequate rationale for why the restrictions were needed.

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