A federal judge in Hawaii halted the latest executive order temporarily restricting travel from six Muslim majority nations. A federal judge in Greenbelt followed suit on Thursday, also blocking the travel ban.
Judge Derrick K. Watson from the United States District Court of Hawaii wrote Wednesday in his decision that President Donald J. Trump's executive order violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause and caused irreparable harm to one of the plaintiffs Ismail Elshikh.
After hearing oral arguments Wednesday, United States District Court for the District of Maryland Judge Theodore Chuang also blocked Trump's travel ban Thursday deciding to issue an injunction against the executive order.
“The Maryland district court has issued yet another strong judicial condemnation of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban," said Omar Jadwat an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union in a statement Thursday. "If, as promised, he continues to try to defend this indefensible order in the courts — or goes back to the first iteration of the ban — he will just keep losing.”
The plaintiffs that filed a complaint in Greenbelt against the federal government on Wednesday, hours before the travel ban would take effect at 12:01 a.m., March 16, included three nonprofit groups: the International Refugee Assistance Project, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Middle East Studies Association of North America.
“Our claim is that the executive order in purpose and effect was intended to discriminate against Muslims and condemns their religion,” said Justin Cox, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the complaint. “President Trump as a candidate promised a Muslim ban and said he was going to use territory as proxy.”
Since he originally signed his first travel ban executive order, President Donald J. Trump said the executive order was meant to protect America’s national security from nations that have issues with terrorism.
The decision comes after a federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge struck down a previous executive order Trump signed temporarily banning entry into the U.S. for 90 days by nationals of seven Muslim majority nations; Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. The executive order also allowed for exemptions for religious minorities from the seven countries.
The judge from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the executive order was unconstitutional, violating the Establishment Clause. Last week, Trump signed a new modified executive order, leaving Iraq off the restricted travel list and giving no exemptions for religious minorities in hopes that it would be in compliance with the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
After the Ninth Circuit Judge made his ruling in January, Trump wrote on Twitter that the judge was a “so-called judge” and that the ruling would endanger America’s national security.
In court on Wednesday in Greenbelt, attorneys representing the federal government said the executive order was not a “Muslim ban” as some of the president’s critics called it, but a temporary pause in travel from countries the president thought posed a unique security risk to the American people.
“We’re talking about taking a temporary three month pause,” said Jeffrey Wall, acting U.S. Solicitor General, who represented the federal government in court on Wednesday.
A judge in Washington State federal court is considering a similar complaint, and could be the next to also rule to strike down Trump’s executive order.
- immigration ban
- Muslim ban
- US District Court
- Judge Derrick K Watson
- Judge Theodore Chuang
- Ismail Elshikh
- International Refugee Assistance Project
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
- Middle East Studies Association of North America
- President Donald Trump
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Muslim majority nations
- religious minorities
- American Civil Liberties Union