WASHINGTON • The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to revive its revised ban that limits travellers visiting the United States from six mostly Muslim countries.
The move sets the stage for a constitutional showdown over the President's authority to make national security judgments in the name of protecting Americans from terrorism.
Last week, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, said President Donald Trump's travel ban was a product of religious animus and intolerance, and so violated the First Amendment. Mr Trump's national security justifications for the ban, that court said, were a pretext for the religious discrimination suggested by his campaign rhetoric, including his pledge to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the country.
The Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals split along ideological lines in its 10:3 decision, with its three Republican appointees in dissent. Shortly after the decision was issued, Attorney-General Jeff Sessions vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court. In its brief asking the Supreme Court to consider the case, the Trump administration said the question for the justices was momentous.
"The stakes are indisputably high: The Court of Appeals concluded that the President acted in bad faith with religious animus when, after consulting with three members of his Cabinet, he placed a brief pause on entry from six countries that present heightened risks of terrorism," the brief said.
Mr Trump's national security justifications for the ban, that court said, were a pretext for the religious discrimination suggested by his campaign rhetoric, including his pledge to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the country.
On Jan 27, Mr Trump issued an executive order to ban travellers from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. It also banned all Syrian refugees indefinitely. The order was blocked by the Ninth Circuit in February. In March, Mr Trump issued a revised ban - excluding Iraq - that narrowed the scope of his original order.