A federal judge in Virginia has issued a preliminary injunction against President Trump’s travel ban, dealing another blow to the White House attempt to bar residents of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., the Washington Post reports. The executive order, Judge Leonie Brinkema concluded, probably violates the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of religion. The order applies only to Virginia residents and students, or employees of Virginia schools. A nationwide freeze has been in place for several days, having been issued in Washington state and by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Brinkema wrote that Virginia “has produced unrebutted evidence” that the order “was not motivated by rational national security concerns” but “religious prejudice” toward Muslims. She cited Trump’s statements before taking office, as well as an interview in which former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that the president wanted a “Muslim ban.” “The ‘Muslim Ban’ was a centerpiece of the president’s campaign for months, and the press release calling for it was still available on his website as of the day this Memorandum Opinion is being entered,” Brinkema wrote. The case is being litigated by the state’s attorney general, Mark Herring. It was originally brought by lawyers for the Legal Aid Justice Center who were representing two Yemeni brothers turned away after landing at Dulles International Airport. The brothers have since been allowed into the U.S. Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, an attorney for the brothers, Tareq and Ammar Aziz, said the decision is significant because a preliminary injunction requires a higher burden of proof than the temporary restraining order issued in Washington.