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2nd federal appeals court upholds freeze on Trump's travel ban

A second federal appeals court upheld a lower court's nationwide freeze on President Donald Trump's revised travel ban that sought to deny new visas for people from certain Muslim-majority countries.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in its opinion issued June 12, ruled that while the president has broad powers over immigration policies, "immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show," but was "subject to certain statutory and constitutional restraints."

The exclusion of people from six countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen violated the Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, which requires that restraints on immigration be applied in a non-discriminatory manner, the court said.

The Ninth Circuit joined the Fourth Circuit, which on May 25, also upheld a nationwide freeze on the travel ban. The Justice Department has appealed the Fourth Circuit decision to the Supreme Court.

The latest decision narrowly focused on the INA, rather than on the U.S. Constitution strictures against religious discrimination that the Fourth Circuit relied on in its decision. That potentially opens a path for the Supreme Court to avoid making pronouncements on broader constitutional principles if it decides to review the travel ban cases.