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Appeals court rejected Trump's travel ban

Appeals court rejected Trump's travel banThe U.S. court on Thursday has refused to reinstate Donald Trump's ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco refused to block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban and allowed previously-barred travelers to enter the U.S.

An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible.

U.S. District Judge James Robart, sitting in Seattle, issued a temporary restraining order halting the ban last week after Washington state and Minnesota sued.

The U.S. Justice Department appealed to the San Francisco court, where government lawyers argued that the ban was a "lawful exercise" of the president's authority and that the seven countries had raised terrorism concerns.

The states said Trump's executive order unconstitutionally blocked entry based on religion.

In its unanimous decision, the appeal court rejected the Trump administration's claim that the court did not have the authority to review the president's executive order.

The panel of three judges noted that Washington and Minnesota had raised serious allegations about religious discrimination.

The court said the government had not shown a likelihood it would succeed in appealing to reinstate the travel ban, nor had it shown that failure to reinstate the ban would cause irreparable injury.

The panel said Washington proved it had the legal right to bring its lawsuit by claiming its universities would suffer harm - one of the questions that the judges considered.

Universities have complained about students and staff becoming stranded overseas.

Both sides faced tough questioning during an hour of arguments conducted by phone - an unusual step - and broadcast live on cable networks, newspaper websites and social media, attracting a huge audience.

The judges hammered away at the administration's claim that the ban was motivated by terrorism fears, but they also challenged the states' argument that it targeted Muslims.

"I have trouble understanding why we're supposed to infer religious animus when, in fact, the vast majority of Muslims would not be affected," Judge Richard Clifton, a George W Bush nominee, asked a lawyer representing Washington and Minnesota.

Only 15% of the world's Muslims were affected by the executive order, the judge said, citing his own calculations.

"Has the government pointed to any evidence connecting these countries to terrorism?" Judge Michelle Friedland, who was appointed by Barack Obama, asked the Justice Department lawyer.

The lower-court judge temporarily halted the ban after determining that the states were likely to win the case and had shown that the ban would restrict travel by their residents, damage their public universities and reduce their tax base.

Judge Robart put the executive order on hold while the lawsuit works its way through the courts.

After that ruling, the State Department quickly said people from the seven countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - with valid visas could travel to the U.S.

The appeal judges said the government presented no evidence to explain the urgent need for Trump's executive order to take effect immediately and said courts have the authority to review presidential orders on immigration and national security.

Trump took to social media, tweeting: "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!"
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