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A California federal appeals court says Trump’s travel ban has ‘exceeded the scope of his authority’

It's the latest legal blow for his order, as a Supreme Court battle looms.

President Trump Leads a Cabinet Meeting Olivier Douliery-Pool / Getty

A federal appeals court in California dealt yet another legal blow to President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries, ruling on Monday that his directive “exceeded the scope of his authority.”

This time, judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found the president did not have sufficient legal basis to suspend the entry of more than 180 million foreign nationals while limiting the number of refugees coming from countries like Iran and Syria — and that his order, which Trump himself has described as a travel ban, violates statutes that “prohibit nationality-based discrimination.”

Federal immigration law, the court concluded, “gives the President broad powers to control the entry of aliens, and to take actions to protect the American public. But immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show. The President’s authority is subject to certain statutory and constitutional restraints.”

The decision in California only adds to the stakes of a brewing Supreme Court battle over Trump’s immigration order — the president’s second attempt to limit immigration from countries, many in the Middle East, in order to improve U.S. defenses against terrorism.

The administration asked the country’s highest bench to review the matter shortly after a federal appeals court in Virginia — in a separate but related case — prevented enforcement of the key parts of the directive. The court’s ruling also sharply rebuked Trump’s approach as “executive action rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country.”

In many cases, Trump’s own tweets have been cited against him. The new ruling in California, for example, even pointed to one of the president’s updates in June describing his own order as a “travel ban.”

Lawyers for the state of Hawaii, meanwhile, told the Supreme Court on Monday that it should not allow the administration to proceed, again describing his order as a “thinly veiled Muslim ban.”

The nation’s largest tech companies also have sought to intervene in the case, spurred on by their employees — some of whom are immigrants. Companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the cases that reached federal judges in California and Virginia, arguing that the order harms their employees and threatens their businesses.

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