The controversial temporary travel ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority nations signed into law by President Donald Trump is still blocked after an appeals court from the US state of Virginia on Thursday refused to reinstate the ban.
The US appeal court’s chief judge while delivering his judgement stated that the revised ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority nations ‘drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination’.
The decision, written by Chief Judge Roger Gregory, described Trump’s executive order as using “vague words of national security, but in context smacks of religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination”.
Gregory quoted statements by Trump during his campaign calling for a “Muslim ban”, and wrote that a reasonable observer would likely conclude the order’s “primary purpose is to exclude persons from the United States on the basis of their religious beliefs”.
Defending Trump’s earlier decision to ban Muslim travelers from entering America, Attorney-General Jeff Sessions said it is the president’s “duty to protect our communities from terrorism” and vowed to bring a review of the latest ruling to the US Supreme Court.
“President Trump’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe,” Sessions said in a statement.
“The Department of Justice strongly disagrees with the decision of the divided court, which blocks the president’s efforts to strengthen this country’s national security… The president is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism, until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk to the United States,” Sessions said.