Judge in Virginia declines to block Trump's new travel ban

Posted March 26, 2017

The second ban looks similar to the first - it's aimed at keeping people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days.

The losses forced Trump to significantly revise his initial executive order. The injunction had been brought forward by Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour, who was represented by an attorney from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

All three rulings are only temporary decisions as cases over the constitutionality of the travel ban go through the courts.

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland barred enforcement of Trump's travel ban, while a judge in Virginia on Friday declined to do so.

So, if the travel ban is unconstitutional - as several courts have now held - because it allegedly discriminates against Muslims, because Trump and others have made statements about targeting Muslims, and because the administration has not articulated a clear statement of a strong security-based need for the travel restriction, the laptop ban arguably should be vulnerable to the same challenges. "As the Court correctly explains, the President's Executive Order falls well within his authority to safeguard the nation's security".

In his ruling, Trenga said the revised order is different enough from the original that injunctions granted against the first action are no longer applicable. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu accepted the invitation and in blocking the enforcement of the travel ban found that a reasonable person would conclude that the revised order was issued with "a goal to disfavor a particular religion".

"It would be the height of irony if the new United Kingdom restrictions, based upon the action taken by the Trump administration, are allowed to remain in place, while the Trump rules themselves are prevented from going into effect based upon the same legal arguments which led to Trump's second travel ban being enjoined", says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

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"The U.S. Marshals service will do a critical risk assessment, look at the threat, make an analysis, and determine the level of protection needed", he said.

This revised order no longer carves out an exception favoring Christians and other religious minorities from Muslim-majority nations included in the ban.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer applauded the decision, as did the US Department of Justice. It also spelled out the reasons for the ban more clearly.

The Hawaii and Maryland rulings agreed with arguments that the travel ban violated the Constitution by discriminating against Muslims. But critics claim that the new order, like the first, amounts to a de facto ban on Muslims entering the country.

Two other judges, in Hawaii and Maryland, put a restraining order in place which prevents the executive order from going into effect while the underlying claim is being adjudicated.

The U.S. Department of Justice responded to Trenga's decision.

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