A federal judge has blocked the Donald Trump administration’s second crack at the travel ban just hours before it was scheduled to be implemented.
The new executive order – which was issued after the first one failed in front of the courts following a chaotic implementation – was reasonably similar but more carefully worded, and knocked Iraq off the list of proscribed countries. The ban would block travel from six Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Hawaii’s US district judge Derrick Watson was one of several judges hearing arguments on the new ban. Hawaii challenged the second version of the travel ban on the basis that it was unconstitutional, and that it would inflict needless damage on the state’s economy and local educational institutions.
Excerpts from the judge’s ruling make it pretty clear that the roundabout targeting of Muslims was why it was blocked:
Because a reasonable, objective observer – enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance – would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose, the Court finds that Plaintiffs, and Dr. Elshikh in particular, are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim.
The Dr Elshikh mentioned here is a Hawaiian Muslim named as a plaintiff in this case. Further to the above excerpt:
The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.
The block is a temporary restraining order – meaning that it halts implementation of the ban across the country, but doesn’t permanently stop it. It’s very likely this move will invite an immediate reaction from the Justice Department.
Trump hasn’t tweeted about this yet. Presumably he will do so.
Source: The Guardian.
Photo: Getty Images.