Indianapolis, Ind., Oct 6, 2016 / 15:20 pm
Indiana Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence’s bid to keep Syrian refugees out of his state was blocked by a federal appeals court this week.
The appeals court, made up of a panel of three well-known conservative judges, upheld a lower court’s decision, which said Pence was discriminating against Syrians by blocking them from receiving federal funds to resettle in his state.
One member of the appeals court is on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.
In a unanimous decision, the appeals court said that Pence acted illegally by accepting federal funds to resettle refugees from other countries and denying them to Syrian refugees.
In November 2015, Pence suspended state agencies’ involvement in the relocation of Syrian refugees following terrorist attacks that killed more than 120 people in Paris on Nov. 19, 2015.
This week, the federal appeals court said Pence’s security concerns regarding Syrian refugees are "nightmare speculation" based on no evidence. The court also said the state presented no evidence that any Syrian refugee had been involved in a terrorist act in the U.S.
Judge Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, wrote for the court that Pence’s refusal to resettle Syrians is still “discrimination on the basis of nationality." Judges Frank Easterbrook and Diane Sykes joined the decision. Sykes, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, is on Trump’s list of potential Supreme court nominees.
The decision came just one day before the vice presidential debate on Oct. 4, during which Pence said he stood by his policy to block Syrian refugees.