A federal appeals court has upheld a nationwide ban that prevents the Trump administration from carrying out critical portions of the president’s executive order targeting travelers and refugees from six majority-Muslim countries.
In a ruling issued today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit preserved a lower court’s injunction — and sharply rebuked Trump’s directive as an “executive action rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country.”
What just went down: In the case before the federal appeals court in Virginia, government lawyers argued that Trump possessed broad power under law to police the border for potential threats. They defended his order, issued in March, which imposed a 90-day travel ban for citizens trying to come to the United States from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The order also sought to halt the arrival of some new refugees, particularly those from Syria.
But a majority of the 13 judges on the Richmond-based appeals court sided on Tuesday with plaintiffs, who had pointed to comments by Trump and his top aides — dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign — that described the executive order as a “Muslim ban.” The court repeatedly cited that rhetoric in its opinion, which found that Trump had unfairly targeted immigrants on the basis of their religion.
What’s next: For one thing,
Meanwhiall eyes are on California. There, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit just last week heard arguments from both sides in a related case brought against Trump by the state of Hawaii.
Once again, the crux of the argument centers on conflicting powers under law that permit the president latitude to set the country’s immigration policies while limiting the White House from doing so in a way that targets individuals because of their religion. Trump, though, is no fan of the Ninth Circuit: Federal judges there halted his first attempt to issue an executive order targeting immigrants from majority-Muslim countries. It was their ruling that led Trump to write his second order, which is still the subject of legal wrangling.
What does it mean for tech: For the moment, it’s an early win. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Snap have been vocal players in this fight, even filing a friend-of-the-court brief with the federal appeals court in Virginia last month. At the time, they argued that Trump’s order would cause “substantial harm on U.S. companies, their employees, and the entire economy.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.