Trump's Muslim rhetoric key issue in travel ban rulings

US District Court Judge Derrick Watson's ruling in Hawaii was slightly broader in scope in that it blocked both the 90-day ban on all foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, as well as the 120-day ban on all refugees entering the country, while Chuang's ruling only concerns the 90-day ban.

The order, signed Monday, March 6, and revised from the original one to remove language that some said benefited certain religious groups, also excluded Iraq from the list of six countries - Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen - whose people are barred from entering the USA for 90 days. So any part of the order not covered by the court rulings took effect at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Thursday.

The department claims in its filing that even though Watson's ruling suspends the 90- and 120-day bans, numerous provisions in the relevant sections of the executive order were not addressed in the briefs the plaintiffs filed in support of their request for a temporary restraining order.

Trump's second attempt to limit travel from those countries was set to go into effect at 12:01 ET Thursday.

A United States judge in Hawaii on Wednesday issued a nationwide halt to President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban targeting six majority-Muslim countries.

Two different federal judges have now blocked implementation of Trump's new travel ban with lengthy written opinions in which his own past rhetoric and recent statements from his advisers have taken center stage. "This ruling makes us look weak, which by the way we no longer are, believe me", Trump said, vowing to "fight this awful ruling".

The original ban was blocked by a federal court, and an appeals court stood behind the lower court's decision.

Trump's first travel order was more sweeping than the second revised order. He also noted that while courts should not examine the "veiled psyche" and "secret motives" of government decision-makers, "the remarkable facts at issue here require no such impermissible inquiry".

"These plainly worded statements, made in the months leading up to and contemporaneous with the signing of the executive order, and, in many cases, made by the executive himself, betray the executive order's stated secular goal", Watson wrote according to CNN.

"The government is probably thinking that the 4th Circuit ... would lend a friendlier ear to its arguments", he said. That could mean he would be seated if the appeals follow a more traditional timeline, although it seems doubtful the administration would want to wait considering the urgent need for the order that it has asserted.

The ruling came from a judge in Hawaii who rejected the government's claims that the travel ban is about national security, not discrimination.

His administration argues that the constitution gives the president the power to suspend immigration when he deems it to be in the national interest of the country, and that neither the initial or revised orders discriminate on the basis of religion. "President Trump tried to trim and tailor his new ban to avoid legal problems, but when something is as tainted as his Muslim ban it's not hard to see it for exactly what it is".

Last month, Robart granted a request by the state of Washington to halt the initial travel ban ordered by Trump.

And a second, separate case before Robart - brought not by states but by a collection of individuals - also asks that he block the new order. This year they declined to hear a potentially landmark case about transgender rights that they had previously said they would hear.

  • Leroy Wright