ON THE DEFENSIVE: The appeals court must decide if Trump acted within his authority –
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump stepped up his criticism of the US judicial system on Wednesday, saying courts seem to be “so political,” a day after his US travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries faced close scrutiny from an appeals court.
A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday heard arguments on the Trump administration’s challenge to a lower court order putting his temporary travel ban on hold. The appeals court was expected to issue a ruling later.
“I don’t ever want to call a court biased,” Trump told a few hundred police chiefs and sheriffs from major cities at a meeting in Washington. “So I won’t call it biased. And we haven’t had a decision yet. But courts seem to be so political. And it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read the statement and do what’s right.
“I think it’s a sad day. I think our security’s at risk today,” Trump said. Trump’s January 27 order barred travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days, except those from Syria, whom he would ban indefinitely. He said his directive was “done for the security of our nation, the security of our citizens.” The appeals court must decide if Trump acted within his authority or whether his directive was tantamount to a discriminatory ban targeting Muslims. The appeals court judges questioned whether the directive improperly targeted people because of their religion.
“If these judges wanted to, in my opinion, help the court in terms of respect for the court, they’d do what they should be doing,” he said.
At the meeting with law enforcement officials, Trump read from the law he used to justify the travel ban, quoting it in fragments and sprinkling bits of interpretation in between. He said the law clearly allowed a president to suspend entry of any class of people if he determines would be a detriment to national security. — Reuters