Two Federal Judges Block New Trump Travel Ban

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A federal judge in Hawaii issued a worldwide restraining order against enforcement of key parts of President Trump’s revised travel ban executive order just before the directive was set to kick in, Politico reports. U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson ruled that the state of Hawaii and a local Muslim leader had “a strong likelihood of success on their claim” that Trump’s order intentionally targets Muslims and therefore violates the Constitution’s guarantee against establishment of religion. Watson rejected the federal government’s claims that the new directive does not target Islam because it is focused on six countries that account for less than 9 percent of the world’s Muslims. “The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable,” wrote Watson. “The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed. The Court declines to relegate its Establishment Clause analysis to a purely mathematical exercise.”

A second federal judge, Theodore Chuang of Maryland, issued a restraining order today against the revised ban. Chuang’s order did not sweep so broadly as the one in Hawaii, but he similarly declared that even the revised travel ban was intended to discriminate against Muslims.  “The history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban,” Chuang wrote, the Washington Post reports. The rulings are another serious blow to Trump’s attempt to limit immigration as part of what he claims is an effort to reduce the threat of terrorist attacks in the U.S. Trump slammed the decision during a speech to a campaign rally in Nashville a short time after the new restraining order was issued. “This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach….This ruling makes us look weak,” the president declared, appearing to vow to appeal to the Supreme Court. Trump “should just continue talking, because he’s making our arguments for us,” said Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center.

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