A US federal appeals court will consider the legality of President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on travel ban at an argument session next month, it has announced. On Monday, the Virginia-based 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals said it will conduct a hearing on May 8 on the federal government’s appeal of a Maryland-based judge’s ruling that blocked Trump’s March 6 ban on issuance of visas to citizens of six Muslim majority countries, Politico news reported.
The session will involve 15 judges hearing the case. The 4th Circuit’s active bench has nine Democratic appointees, five Republican appointees and one judge who was nominated to the court by both a Democratic President and a Republican one.
The Justice Department said it supported the session if it would not delay the case. Meanwhile, the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a parallel appeal of a Hawaii-based judge’s ruling blocking the visa ban, as well as other provisions in the revised order.
It has expedited that appeal by the Trump administration, scheduling a three-judge panel to hear the issues in that case on May 15. Whatever decisions the two appeals courts make could be appealed further to the Supreme Court, reports Politico.
Trump issued his first travel ban executive order for seven Muslim majority countries on January 27, just a week after he was sworn in. The directive triggered protests at various airports across the country, the detention of hundreds of travellers, and confusion over the status of green card holders.
On March 6, Trump issued the revised directive, revoking the old one and striking Iraq from the list of countries affected by the visa ban. The new order explicitly excluded existing visa and green card holders and removed some language that appeared to prioritise Christian refugees.