A protester outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Flickr / CC 2.0)

This story is developing.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 10-3 Thursday to uphold an injuction blocking President Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries. The court writes that the ban, which Trump issued via executive order earlier this year, “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

Former judge Bill Blum, a Truthdig columnist, analyzed the news, writing:

The 4th Circuit’s ruling is yet another embarrassing high-profile legal setback for the nativist agenda of the Trump administration. By a vote of 10-3, the court upheld a nationwide injunction issued by a Maryland-based federal district court judge in March against the administration’s revised Muslim travel ban.

In its decision, the Circuit court framed the constitutional issue presented by the travel ban in the broadest possible terms:

“The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the Constitution, as the Supreme Court declared in Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2, 120 (1866), remains ‘a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace.’ And if so, whether it protects Plaintiffs’ right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination. Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles—that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy, or favor or disfavor one religion over another. Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. 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.”

The 9th Circuit is also weighing a challenge to the revised travel ban, and is expected to hand down its ruling in the coming weeks. Ultimately, the issue should reach the Supreme Court next term, with its newly reconstituted conservative majority and Justice Neil Gorsuch occupying the late Antonin Scalia’s seat on the bench. So stay tuned: we don’t yet know if the nation’s highest court will act as a check and balance against executive overreach, as the lower courts have thus far. The fight is far from over.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has been an outspoken opponent of the ban, celebrated the news on Twitter:

Other politicians also weighed in:

Read the full ruling here.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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