By Heidi Rand

Trump’s second try at a Travel Ban, halted before it went into effect by Hawaii Judge Derrick Watson’s nationwide preliminary injunction, moved forward in the courts on Tuesday. At an hour-long hearing at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers argued vigorously about whether the Ban violates both the Constitution by favoring one religion over another, and federal immigration law. The judges lasered in on what role, if any, Trump’s statements about banning Muslims from coming into the country should play in deciding the fate of the Ban.

Next stop depends on the Ninth’s decision. The federal government wants the injunction vacated, the State of Hawaii and named plaintiffs want it affirmed. And there could be a split decision. In an article on Scotusblog, legal expert Amy Howe wrote that “[t]he judges also at least hinted that they might narrow the scope of the district court’s order.” The government lawyer caught that drift, saying as he wrapped up that even if the court didn’t buy his arguments, the plaintiffs weren’t entitled to a nationwide injunction, instead they could, for example, provide visas to a named plaintiff’s mother-in-law and other Muslim students who might come to Hawaii.

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