Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Politics

Another U.S. appeals court keeps Trump's travel ban blocked

SEATTLE — Another U.S. appeals court upheld a decision blocking President Donald Trump's revised travel ban Monday, dealing the administration another legal defeat as the Supreme Court considers a separate case on the issue.

The ruling from a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the president violated U.S. immigration law by discriminating against people based on their nationality and by failing to demonstrate that their entry into the country would hurt American interests.

"Immigration, even for the president, is not a one-person show," the judges said. "The president's authority is subject to certain statutory and constitutional restraints."

It keeps in place a decision by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii that he based largely on Trump's campaign statements calling for a "complete and total shutdown" of Muslims entering the U.S.

Watson ruled that the true purpose of the temporary ban on travel from six mostly Muslim nations was to discriminate against Islam — not to protect national security. That violated the Constitution's prohibition on the government officially favoring or disfavoring any religion, he said.

The 9th Circuit judges said they didn't need to reach the constitutional question because the travel ban violated immigration law, and thus wasn't allowed.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia also ruled against the travel ban May 25, citing the president's campaign statements as evidence that the 90-day ban is "steeped in animus and directed at a single religious group." The administration has appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.

The high court is considering a request to reinstate the policy and could act before the justices wind up their work at the end of June.

The 9th Circuit heard arguments May 15 in an expedited appeal of the Hawaii case. Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall said the travel ban is well within the president's broad authority to secure the nation's borders, an assertion that drew skeptical questioning from the judges, all appointees of President Bill Clinton.

"How is a court to know if, in fact, it's a Muslim ban in the guise of national security justification?" asked Judge Ronald Gould.

Neal Katyal, an attorney representing Hawaii, which sued to stop the ban, told the judges the policy could not be squared with U.S. immigration law, which bars nationality-based discrimination in issuing immigration visas, or with the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on the government favoring or disfavoring any religion.

He too faced some difficult questioning, including queries on whether the lower-court decision was too broad.

Trump issued his initial travel ban on a Friday in late January, bringing chaos and protests to airports around the country. A Seattle judge blocked its enforcement nationwide in response to a lawsuit by Washington state — a decision that was unanimously upheld by a different three-judge 9th Circuit panel.

The president then rewrote his executive order rather than appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court at that time. The new version, designed to better withstand legal scrutiny, named six countries instead of seven — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, with Iraq dropped — and spelled out more of a national security rationale.

It also listed some reasons that travelers from those nations might be granted waivers allowing them into the U.S. despite the policy.

Like the initial executive order, it also suspended the nation's refugee program.

Several states and civil rights groups also challenged the revised ban, saying it remained rooted in discrimination and exceeded the president's authority.

In March, the judge in Honolulu blocked the new version from taking effect, citing what he called "significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus" in Trump's campaign statements.

Comments
Veteran Hernando politicians take oversized contributions, run afoul of campaign finance laws

Veteran Hernando politicians take oversized contributions, run afoul of campaign finance laws

BROOKSVILLE — With primary Election Day at the doorstep, two Republican candidates vying for seats on the Hernando County Commission found themselves in uncomfortable spots over potential filings with the Florida Commission on Ethics.And a third Repu...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Q&A: A Watergate trickster talks dirty politics, then and now

Q&A: A Watergate trickster talks dirty politics, then and now

CLEARWATERNearly half a century ago, Martin Kelly made the mistake of his life.He was a senior at the University of Miami when he decided to take part in what would become one of the most infamous political scandals in U.S. history: Watergate. He was...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Pasco Political Notebook for Aug. 17

Republican Club hosts candidate forum at meetingThe West Pasco Republican Club will host an "Election Extravaganza" candidate forum at its meeting Aug. 21 at Heritage Springs Country Club, 11345 Robert Trent Jones Parkway, Trinity. A social time will...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting Pasco County begins Saturday and runs through Aug. 25, with 11 locations across the county for voters.Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 20-24, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug...
Published: 08/13/18
Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

LARGO — There will be no suspense in the city when elections arrive Nov. 6. In fact, there will be no election at all, because all four city commissioners whose seats were up were re-elected by default when no one came forward by the end of the candi...
Published: 08/13/18
Florida candidate tried to prove she’s a college graduate. The school says her diploma is fake.

Florida candidate tried to prove she’s a college graduate. The school says her diploma is fake.

The political kerfuffle around Melissa Howard began when a news site reported that the Florida state House hopeful is not a college graduate, as she claims to be. To prove the story wrong, Howard, R, reportedly flew to her proclaimed alma mater, Ohio...
Published: 08/12/18
Romano: Two years later, politicians still ignoring Florida voters on medical marijuana

Romano: Two years later, politicians still ignoring Florida voters on medical marijuana

The war is over, except no one in Tallahassee has bothered to read the news.And so Florida continues its daft fight against medical marijuana. All of which means patients are being left behind, voters are getting ignored, and lawyers are buying fanci...
Published: 08/11/18
Hillsborough, tops in state for drug-addicted babies, will file suit against opioid makers

Hillsborough, tops in state for drug-addicted babies, will file suit against opioid makers

TAMPA — Hillsborough County plans to file a lawsuit next week against companies that manufacture opioid drugs, alleging that aggressive marketing of painkillers worsened the opioid crisis.The county joins a number of other local governments nationwid...
Published: 08/10/18
Ex-aide Omarosa says she refused hush money, pens White House memoir calling Trump racist

Ex-aide Omarosa says she refused hush money, pens White House memoir calling Trump racist

WASHINGTON — Omarosa Manigault Newman was offered a $15,000-a-month contract from President Donald Trump’s campaign to stay silent after being fired from her job as a White House aide by Chief of Staff John Kelly last December, according to a forthco...
Published: 08/10/18
Carlton: Sorry, Gov. Scott, but college students can early vote after all. Hey, USF, talking to you here...

Carlton: Sorry, Gov. Scott, but college students can early vote after all. Hey, USF, talking to you here...

Good news, at least for those of us who keep believing in that old-fashioned notion that voting should be open and accessible to everyone who’s qualified.Even if they’re, say, young voters. And even if certain politicians do not like the direction in...
Published: 08/10/18