The Muslim Ban Loses in Court Again

The Muslim Ban Loses in Court Again

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing key parts of the president's latest set of travel restrictions.

Federal judges Derrick Watson and Theodore Chuang are at it again: Apparently, neither of them can stand the idea of President Trump imposing restrictions on citizens from eight mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

Judge Watson's restraining order, which was sought by the state of Hawaii, a local Muslim cleric and others, relies heavily on the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to block the previous version of the controversial immigration policy.

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Tuesday's order is not a final ruling in the case; instead, it prevents the ban from taking effect until a final ruling is made or-more likely-an appeals court weighs in.

The decision from Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii is sure to be appealed, but for now, it means that the administration can not restrict the entry of travelers from six of the eight countries that officials said were either unable or unwilling to provide information that the United States wanted to vet their citizens.

Chuang, in his 91-page ruling, recalled Trump's words on the campaign trail in December 2015 when the then-Republican presidential candidate vowed a "complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" and said that's proof that the travel ban was meant to fulfill that pledge. "This is the third time Hawaii has gone to court to stop President Trump from issuing a travel ban that discriminates against people based on their nation of origin or religion", State Attorney General Douglas Chin said in a statement. In a footnote, Watson cited a string of tweets by the president in June in which he called the second ban a "watered down, politically correct version" of his "original Travel Ban".

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Presumably inoculated to judicial interceptions by now, the White House managed to muster some anger, releasing a statement that attacked the "dangerously flawed" court order. It continues the ban on immigration from five of the six countries in the previous ban: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, and adds three new countries to the list: Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. Yet, it is impossible to specify inadequate entry procedures without designating the responsible and high risk countries. The Hawaii ruling came in a case brought by that state, while the Maryland ruling came in cases brought by relatives of travelers who would be blocked; the International Refugee Assistance Project; and organizations that invite scholars and others from the affected countries to participate in conferences. That sparked additional suits, court orders and appellate reviews. A judge in Seattle is also reviewing the measure.

But the first and second versions of the travel ban were always created to be temporary, while the federal government examined countries' cooperation with U.S. attempts to vet immigrants and visa holders.

French wrote that the judges' "job is to assess whether a policy is constitutional, not whether it's prudent or wise". The state says the updated ban is a continuation of Trump's "promise to exclude Muslims from the United States".

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Here's the Supreme Court: The interest in preserving national security is "an urgent objective of the highest order". "And so it goes with EO-3", Trump's third executive order. Judges should stay in their lane. And it is certainly not their job to second-guess the commander-in-chief's national security assessments.

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