Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hawaiian judge extends stay vs. Trump travel ban

U.S. District Judge Derrick Kahala Watson
HAWAIIAN federal judge, U.S. District Judge Derrick Kahala Watson, took only a few hours late Wednesday to extend his order blocking  Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban.

The state of Hawaii argued successfully that  the policy discriminates against Muslims and hurts the state’s tourist-dependent economy. The implied message in the revised ban is like a “neon sign flashing ‘Muslim ban, Muslim ban’” that the government didn’t bother to turn off, state Attorney General Douglas Chin told the judge.

Extending the temporary order until the state’s lawsuit was resolved would ensure the constitutional rights of Muslim citizens across the U.S. are vindicated after “repeated stops and starts of the last two months,” the state has said.

RELATED: Judge Watson receiving threats for his ruling against Muslim ban
The Department of Justice argued the ban falls within the president’s power to protect national security. Hawaii has only made generalized concerns about its effect on students and tourism, DOJ attorney Chad Readler told the Honolulu-based judge via telephone.

The Trump administration had asked Watson to narrow his ruling to cover only the part of Trump’s executive order that suspends new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries. Readler said a freeze on the U.S. refugee program had no effect on Hawaii.

Judge Watson had blocked the core provision of the revised executive order two weeks ago, stating that the order violates Establishment Clause of the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims.

"The court concludes that, on the record before it, plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim," Watson wrote in his order extending the original temporary restraining order.

Watson, while putting an indefinite stay on the travel ban, argued that Trump's statements about Muslims and vow to institute a ban on Muslims during his presidential campaign speak to the intent of the travel ban.

After the original travel ban was stayed by a Florida federal judge, the Trump administration had issued a revised travel ban on March 6, in an attempt to overcome the legal problems with the first one.

Trump's original travel ban restricted people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Soon after trump signed the ban in February, it caused a worldwide outrage, with many people taking to airports across America to protest the order, which was deemed anti-Muslim. 

Trump has promised to take both challenged travel bans to the U.S. Supreme Court.