President Trump's updated travel ban halted by federal judge

President Donald Trump has suffered another humiliating defeat again as a US federal judge in Hawaii on Wednesday issued an emergency halt to the order's implementation of his revised travel ban which was expected to take effect hours later.

Hawaii District Judge Derrick Watson ruled there was a strong likelihood that "irreparable injury is likely if the requested relief is not issued".

The Hawaii court said however it would not stay its decision in the event of an appeal, meaning the ban can not go ahead as planned on Thursday regardless of any action the White House takes.

Judge Derrick K. Watson of Honolulu wrote that any "reasonable, objective observer" would see this executive order as "issued with a goal to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral goal", The New York Times reported. "The order he blocked was a watered down order from the first order", Trump said during a rally in Nashville, while referring to the first ban that was also struck down.

Refugees' advocates and civil liberties groups asked the Maryland court to find that the order discriminated against Muslims, "stigmatizing and demeaning one religious group". "If this is implemented, it will have devastating consequences for our communities".

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra [official profile] announced [press release] Monday that his state would be joining Washington and Minnesota in their lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against President Donald Trump's revised executive order [JURIST report] banning citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. That timing is critical, as Trump's travel ban is set to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. It was blocked last month by a separate federal court.

"Lawyers for Hawaii alleged the new travel ban, much like the old, violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment because it is essentially a Muslim ban, hurts the ability of state businesses and universities to recruit top talent and damages the state's robust tourism industry", the newspaper reports.

But Trump, 70, said the ruling "makes us look weak". Specifically, several states (Hawaii, Washington, and Maryland) are hearing last-minute challenges to the order.

The brief, filed in the District Court for Hawaii, backs Hawaii's bid for a temporary restraining order to block implementation of the revised order.

"The Constitution has once again put the brakes on President Trump's disgraceful and discriminatory ban".

Judge Watson wrote that targeting specific countries "likewise targets Islam". The Justice Department said it will defend the new travel ban.

He went on to critcise the Ninth Circuit court, which is a federal court which can review decisions and change the outcome of rulings from a number of U.S. district courts.

This "emergency halt" is the latest in a series of legal blows to the Trump administration's attempts at fulfilling their leader's election campaign promise of temporarily banning refugees and travellers from predominantly Muslim countries in the name of national security.

  • Salvatore Jensen