NEW YORK CITY — A federal appeals court declined to reinstate President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban on seven primarily Muslim countries Thursday.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, denied an appeal by the Justice Department after hearing arguments earlier in the week. The ruling is expected to go to to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ruling came after a federal judge in Seattle last week placed a stay on Trump's executive order, allowing travelers and refugees from Syria, Somalia, Iran, Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Sudan to again enter the country.
The three judges said in their unanimous decision that the judiciary branch has the right to rule on challenges to executive orders.
"In short, although courts owe considerable deference to the President’s policy determinations with respect to immigration and national security, it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action," the judges wrote.
The Trump administration has said that the executive branch has the authority to restrict immigration.
The government's lawyer, August E. Flentje, argued during Tuesday's appeal hearing that it was not up to the courts or states to take part in "very troubling second guessing" of a presidential order concerning "national security."
Flentje asked for any ruling to at most be limited to "previously admitted aliens" covered in the State of Washington's case.
Washington State Solicitor General Noah Purcell argued it was up to the judicial branch to act as a check on the executive if an order potentially violated federal law and protections, which has "never been more important in recent memory than it has today."
He added that rescinding the stay and allowing the travel ban to resume would also "throw this country back into chaos."
The president blasted the decision on Twitter and vowed to keep up the legal battle.
SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
Travelers from the affected countries started to fly into New York last weekend after the initial appeal was rejected.
About 60,000 visas were revoked nationwide while the ban was in place, according to the State Department.
The ACLU lauded the ruling.
“The appeals court’s refusal to reinstate the Muslim ban is correct. The government’s erratic and chaotic attempts to enforce this unconstitutional ban have taken a tremendous toll on innocent individuals, our country’s values, and our standing in the world," Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project said in a statement.
"We will keep fighting this un-American executive order until it is permanently dismantled.”