A US appeals court has rejected President Donald Trump’s attempt to reinstate his ban on visitors from seven mainly Muslim countries.
The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said it would not block a lower-court ruling that halted the order.
President Donald Trump indicated he would go to the US Supreme Court after an appeals court refused to reinstate his controversial ban on travellers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
In the biggest blow so far for Mr Trump’s presidency the panel of three judges from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 29-page ruling, declined to block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban.
That meant people from the seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – were free to continue entering the US.
It is now possible to take the case to the US Supreme Court and Mr Trump indicated that would happen .
He declared: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”
Mr Trump also called the court’s decision “political” and added: “We’re gonna win the case. We have a situation where the security of our country is at stake.”
US Justice Department lawyers had argued to the 9th Circuit that the president has the constitutional power to restrict entry to the country.
They claimed the courts could not second-guess his determination that such a step was needed to prevent terrorism.
However, Washington and Minnesota, the two states that sued over Mr Trump’s travel ban, claimed it harmed individuals, businesses and universities.
Citing language used by Mr Trump in the presidential campaign about Muslims entering the US, they said the ban unconstitutionally blocked entry to people based on religion.
Both sides faced tough questioning during an hour of arguments Tuesday conducted by phone and broadcast live on cable networks, newspaper websites and social media.
Earlier, the White House declared that Mr Trump has “no regrets” over his attacks on the judges tasked with ruling on the case, insisting “the president has every right to speak his mind”.
Mr Trump had called the federal judge in Seattle, who originally ruled against him, a “so called judge”, and condemned the appeals court hearing as “disgraceful”.