The judges said the government had failed to make a case that there was an urgent need to block travellers from the seven Muslim-majority countries on the travel ban list from entering the US:
Although we agree that ‘the government’s interest in combating terrorism is an urgent objective of the highest order’ … the government has done little more than reiterate that fact.
Despite the district court’s and our own repeated invitations to explain the urgent need for the executive order to be placed immediately into effect, the government submitted no evidence to rebut the states’ argument that the district court’s order merely returned the nation temporarily to the position it has occupied for many previous years.
The government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.
The ruling was the first from an appeals court on the travel ban, and it was focused on the narrow question of whether it should be blocked while courts consider its lawfulness. The decision is likely to be quickly appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
That court remains short-handed and could deadlock. A 4-to-4 tie in the Supreme Court would leave the appeals court’s ruling in place.
Within minutes of the judges’ decision, the president angrily tweeted his intent to appeal.
Trial judges around the country have blocked aspects of Mr. Trump’s executive order, which suspended travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries and limited the nation’s refugee program, but no other case has yet reached an appeals court.
The decision, from a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, reviewed a ruling issued last Friday by Judge James L. Robart, a federal judge in Seattle. Judge Robart blocked the key parts of Mr. Trump’s executive order, allowing immigrants and travelers who had been barred entry to come into the United States.