After Hawaii, Maryland judge too blocks Trump travel ban
17 March 2017
Two federal judges have temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's travel ban, both citing Trump's statements about Muslims during the presidential campaign as part of their rulings.
A ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii Wednesday resulted in a temporary restraining order nationwide, hours before it was set to go into effect . In a decision published this morning, another federal judge in Maryland specifically blocked the 90-day ban on immigration for citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.
The travel ban was set to go into effect Thursday at midnight.
In a 43-page ruling, US District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who presides in Honolulu, concluded in no uncertain terms that the new executive order failed to pass legal muster at this stage and the state had established "a strong likelihood of success" on their claims of religious discrimination (See: Federal judge in Hawaii issues sweeping freeze on Trump travel ban).
Trump decried Watson's ruling during a rally Wednesday night in Nashville, introducing his statement as "the bad, the sad news."
"The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first one," Trump said, as the crowd booed the news.
"This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach," he added, before pledging to take the issue to the Supreme Court if necessary.
The practical effect of Watson's ruling - which applies nationwide - is that travellers from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees will be able to travel to the US.
Unlike the previous executive order, the new one removed Iraq from the list of banned countries, exempted those with green cards and visas and removed a provision that arguably prioritizes certain religious minorities.
The new ban was announced earlier this month and was set to take effect Thursday. It would have banned people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.
The Justice Department said it will defend the new travel ban.
"The Department of Justice strongly disagrees with the federal district court's ruling, which is flawed both in reasoning and in scope. The President's Executive Order falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our Nation's security, and the Department will continue to defend this Executive Order in the courts," DOJ said in a statement Wednesday night.