The judges of Virginia's 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the stay of the notorious 'Muslim ban' crafted by President Trump in late January and revised in March. The controversial executive order, effectively banning entry of citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, has seen countless rebukes by lower courts nationwide over the past four months.

Appeals Court verdict

In a 10-3 decision divided along partisan lines, the judges ruled in favor of continuing the 90-day hold on enforcing the travel ban.

The Court of Appeals heard arguments earlier this month regarding the ban and its religious undertones.

Trump's Acting Solicitor-General Jeffery Wall argued that the executive order should be reviewed solely based on its now-religiously-neutral wording, however the judges were torn on whether it would be appropriate to take into consideration the anti-Muslim sentiments Trump expressed during his campaign.

After being blocked by a judge in Hawaii and further rebuked by courts in California and Maryland, the rejection of the order's appeal marks the end of the order's travel through the lower courts.

Final appeal from lower courts

The purpose of this particular hearing was to decide whether lower courts nationwide had acted lawfully in their rejection of the ban in March and early May. The courts issued injunctions to prevent the travel ban from going into effect.

Thursday, the 10-3 decision ultimately determined that the lower courts had indeed acted within their jurisdiction to put the ban on hold, citing its violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which stands to separate church and state.

The Appeals Court's Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory said that the executive order is comprised of "vague words of national security" but more pressingly "drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination."

What's next

With no viable options left among lower courts, Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn't mince words about the White House's next move: "This Department of Justice will forcefully uphold the power and obligation of the Executive Branch to defend the citizens of this country from threat, and will pursue evaluation of this situation in the US Supreme Court.”

While the White House continues to insist that the travel ban will further strengthen the United States' national security, it is widely regarded by both Republicans and Democrats alike that it has more to do with the anti-Muslim rhetoric employed by Trump on the campaign trail and continued to be the focus of the first version of the ban.

With Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch now sitting on the bench, the decision will not be an even split. As most decisions do, it may fall to the somewhat non-partisan Justice Anthony Kennedy to break what could be a tie between the four conservative judges and the four liberals.

Only time will tell if the conservative-leaning Supreme Court will finally put the travel ban to rest or give it the pass President Trump has long awaited.