Federal judge extends block on Donald Trump's travel ban

After hearing arguments Wednesday in Honolulu, Watson agreed that the president's policy was clearly discriminating against Muslims and was also damaging to the state's economy which largely depends on tourists. Soon after trump signed the ban in February, it caused a worldwide outrage, with many people taking to airports across America to protest the order, which was deemed anti-Muslim.

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson has issued a preliminary injunction. Judge Watson determined that to be religious discrimination and a violation of the US Constitution. "Based upon the preliminary record available, however, one can not conclude that the actions taken during the interval between revoked Executive Order No. 13,769 and the new Executive Order represent 'genuine changes in constitutionally significant conditions'".

The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. Trump continues to have a 2015 statement advocating for a Muslim ban up on his website. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. Iraq was on the first list but was removed in the revised executive order.

In his first order, Watson ruled it was plausible "to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam" given their Muslim populations ranging from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent. Both judges (who were appointed by former president Obama) made numerous references to Trump's alleged anti-Muslim bias in their respective decisions.

The Department of Justice opposed Hawaii's request to extend Watson's temporary order. Watson's latest ruling means that the order is blocked indefinitely until a higher court overturns it or Hawaii's lawsuit is resolved.

The Trump administration has asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put that ruling on hold as it considers the case, reported the Associated Press. As important, there is nothing unclear about the scope of the Court's order.

But the admissibility of those comments is a legally murky area, experts say, particularly those made before Trump became president.

The US Justice Department is expected to appeal to the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This, Watson wrote, indicated that the second order was simply an attempt to get around the rulings that prevented the first one from taking effect. "If he were able to articulate a good reason for the ban and have a ban that seemed to match that reason, I think the courts would very quickly return to their deferential stand in this area". The appeals court that blocked the first order faulted the Trump administration for not giving an adequate explanation for why it singled out people from the targeted nations.

  • Larry Hoffman