Gregory said the order "speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination".
"Based on this evidence", the court concluded that Trump's executive order's "stated national security interest was provided in bad faith, as a pretext for its religious goal". One factor in that first vote is whether the government is likely to win in the end.
"Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It can not 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 chief judge of the circuit, Roger L. Gregory wrote.
The administration has argued the temporary travel ban was needed to guard against terrorist attacks. Examining all of the now-familiar evidence-Trump's anti-Muslim statements, his proposal for a literal Muslim ban, "his subsequent explanation that he would effectuate this ban by targeting "territories" instead of Muslims directly"-Gregory declared that "the government's national security goal was proffered in bad faith". He says the court's ruling blocks Trump's "efforts to strengthen this country's national security".
Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall argued that the president's directive falls squarely within his duty to secure the nation's borders and that it does not discriminate against Muslims in its language or in its operation.
In his ruling, Gregory wrote that campaign comments absolutely matter.More news: Rooney close to revealing decision on future
We decline to do so, not only because it is the particular province of the judicial branch to say what the law is, but also because we would do a disservice to our constitutional structure were we to let its mere invocation silence the call for meaningful judicial review. Calling the executive order a "modest action", Judge Paul V. Niemeyer wrote that Supreme Court precedent required the court to consider the order "on its face". "The administration already has suffered a string of well-deserved defeats in the courts", Becerra said in a written statement. "Rather then wait for yet another court to rule against it, Congress can and must take action that will end this discriminatory and risky policy once and for all". Trump tweaked the order after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit refused to reinstate the ban. That section temporarily paused for 90 days the entry into the United States of refugees and nationals of six unstable and/or terrorism-infested countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) that were designated as such by the Obama Administration.
A revised executive order announced in March, meant to address the issues raised by the federal judges, deleted Iraq from the list and removed an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
If they were to refuse to block the Fourth Circuit decision, that would not necessarily doom the chances for review on the executive order's validity, but it could make winning that appeal considerably more hard.
The American Center for Law and Justice ("ACLJ") filed an amicus curiae ("friend-of-the-court") brief in the Fourth Circuit in support of the Executive Order.
This week, however, the U.S. Department of Justice asked the court to reconsider that ruling. At that time, the court had only eight Justices, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.