Yet another federal appeals court has invalidated President Donald Trump’s immigration policy—this time the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which is currently the most liberal federal appeals court in the nation—though it makes no difference, because the Supreme Court has already agreed to decide this matter once and for all.
The three most liberal federal appeals courts in the nation are the Fourth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, and D.C. Circuit, where Senate Democrats paved the way for President Barack Obama to have the greatest impact. Those courts have predictably voted against the Trump administration on a host of issues.
Immigration is a perfect example. Most of the headlines against President Trump’s immigration actions have come from either the Fourth Circuit or the Ninth Circuit. There have been three iterations of the president’s “extreme vetting”: Executive Order 13769, signed in January; Executive Order 13780, signed in March; and Presidential Proclamation 9645, issued in September.
The first two were temporary measures while formal vetting procedures were being established. The final one—Proclamation 9645—is the permanent policy, invoking the authority Congress conferred upon the president in 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f). It restricts or prohibits immigration into the United States from eight terror-prone nations.
The Fourth Circuit’s decision is an astounding 285 pages, spread among eight different opinions. The actual majority opinion of the court was authored by Chief Judge Roger Gregory.
In sum, the Richmond-based appeals court concludes that Proclamation 9645 violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution’s First Amendment, because it actually establishes a national religion that excludes Muslims. That is the court’s decision, despite the fact that most Islamic-majority nations on earth are not affected by the policy.
The Supreme Court has already granted review in a parallel case that went through the Ninth Circuit, Trump v. Hawaii. The Establishment Clause issue in this case will be fully briefed in the Hawaii case. Arguments are expected in April, with a decision by the end of June.
This case is IRAP v. Trump, No. 17-2231 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.