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On February 9, after President Donald Trump’s appeal to reinstate his travel ban suffered a unanimous defeat at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the 45th President of the U.S. posted a tweet in capital letters: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

Mr. Trump seems determined to press on with litigation to close America’s borders to refugees and to visa-holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

But the resounding loss at the Ninth Circuit, in which a judge nominated by George W. Bush joined two judges appointed by Democratic presidents, suggests there are few realistic options for the administration – short of shredding the executive order and drafting it anew.

The appeals court in San Francisco was not tasked with determining the legality of Mr. Trump’s ban. Its ruling only addresses whether a temporary restraining order put on the ban by a district judge in Seattle should be lifted before a full trial takes place in several weeks.

The government’s lawyers argued in their briefs and in a hearing on February 7th that America’s national security would be endangered if the district court’s order was permitted to stand.

Mr. Trump believed the travel and immigration restrictions imposed in his January 27th executive order were necessary to protect the nation, his lawyer said, and presidents have “unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens”.