Judge Extends Restraining Order Against Trump's Second Muslim Ban
Trump issued his second Muslim Ban or travel restriction, of people entering the United States from six Muslim-majority nations, on March 6. Ten days later, the order was blocked by Hawaii federal Judge Derrick Watson. Judge Watson's temporary restraining order had the effect of blocking the ban for two weeks, allowing Trump's Justice Department sufficient time to defend its alleged need for security. After listening to arguments from Hawaii's Attorney General and representatives from the Department of Justice on Wednesday, Judge Watson extended the restraining order with the following preliminary injunction:
It is hereby ADJUDGED, ORDERED, and DECREED that: Defendants and all their respective officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and persons in active concert or participation with them, are hereby enjoined from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order across the Nation. Enforcement of these provisions in all places, including the United States, at all United States borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas is prohibited, pending further orders from this Court.
Douglas Chin, Attorney General for the state of Hawaii successfully argued that Trump's ban violates the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against Muslims. It is not a coincidence that the ban restricts entry from immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries. Trump himself made it clear for several months during the presidential campaign that he fully intended to restrict access from Muslims. At one point Trump claimed, "Islam hates us." Trump's animus for followers of Islam reached a boiling point during the campaign when Trump stood in front of a Mount Pleasant, South Carolina crowd of supporters and read his campaign's press release aloud, "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on."
The extension of the restraining order blocking Trump's Muslim ban is for an indefinite period of time. Should Trump's White House seek to have Watson's ruling overturned, the Justice Department will have to appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Recently, the 9th Circuit ruled against Trump's first Muslim ban, making a successful attempt with this rewrite less likely.
Watson's ruling should bring the potential battle over the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch into perspective for those not paying attention to DC. Should Gorsuch get confirmed, that would expectedly render any 9th Circuit decision moot. Gorsuch is a Tea Party/Freedom Caucus darling and unlikely to rule against an order handed down by the president who just promoted him to the high court.
The inclusion of Gorsuch on the Supreme Court will determine the fate of Muslims entering the United States for at least until the end of Trump's presidency. Earlier in the month, a Virginia judge upheld the ban, while a Maryland judge blocked one segment of it a week ago. When these circuit divisions exist, the role of the Supreme Court is to issue one supreme ruling that all courts must follow.