The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled President Trump’s executive order temporarily pausing the admission of nationals from six countries with connections to terrorism violates federal law.
“Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute,” Chief Judge Roger L Gregory wrote. “It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation.”
This Department of Justice will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the matter.
“President Trump’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the Nation safe,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “…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.”
In handing down their decision, judges analyzed a number of statements Trump made on the campaign trail before his election. However, in a dissenting opinion, Judge Paul V. Niemeyer objected to using statements from a candidate who has not yet been sworn into office.
“Opening the door to the use of campaign statements to inform the text of later executive orders has no rational limit,” Niemeyer wrote. “If a court, dredging through the myriad remarks of a campaign, fails to find material to produce the desired outcome, what stops it from probing deeper to find statements from a previous campaign, or from a previous business conference, or from college?
“And how would use of such statements take into account intervening acts, events, and influences?” Niemeyer added. “When a candidate wins the election to the presidency, he takes an oath of office to abide by the Constitution and the laws of the Nation; he appoints officers of the government and retains advisors, usually specialized in their field. Is there not the possibility that a candidate might have different intentions than a President in office? And after taking office, a President faces new external events that may prompt new approaches altogether. How would a court assess the effect of these intervening events on presidential intent without conducting judicial psychoanalysis?”