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U.S. States Realign in Legal Battle Over Trump’s Travel Ban

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK: US President Donald Trump's Travel Ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority nations faces its second challenge at a U.S. appeals court in the month of June, and this time more Republican states are backing the measure, while one Democratic state attorney general dropped out of the legal fight this week. As per some legal experts, they say the states' realignment could signal that the changes made last month to Trump's original executive order have strengthened the government's case.

Sixteen Democratic state attorneys general and the District of Colombia on Thursday filed a "friend of the court" brief backing Hawaii in its bid to block the March 6 executive order, which two federal judges put on hold before it could be implemented. Hawaii and other states argue the ban violates the U.S. Constitution because it discriminates against Muslims.

U.S. States Realign Legal Battle Trump's Travel Ban

But Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who opposed the original ban that Trump signed on Jan. 27, did not join Thursday's brief, which was filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Shapiro declined to comment.

If we look at other side, Texas, which had been alone in its support for the original January order, has gained the support of 14 Republican states urging that the ban go forward in a legal brief filed on April 10. Those states back the government's argument that the president has wide authority to implement immigration policy and that the ban is needed to prevent terrorist attacks.