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Federal Judge In Hawaii Blocks Trump's Revised Travel Ban

Associated Press
A sign for the Hawaii U.S. federal court stands outside the building in Honolulu on Wednesday morning, March 15, 2107.
Federal Judge In Hawaii Blocks Trump's Revised Travel Ban
Federal Judge In Hawaii Blocks Trump's Revised Travel Ban GUEST: Dan Eaton, partner, Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek: San Diego Law Firm

Our top story on midday edition that Trump administration has vowed to appeal federal court rulings against the president of data travel ban. That may make government attorneys very busy as the number of rulings against the ban increased yesterday. Federal courts in both Hawaii and Maryland ruled against travel ban both using Donald Trump's own words as a candidate to find the ban unconstitutional and several more lawsuits against the banner pending. Joining me is legal analyst -- analyst Dan Eaton he is with McMahon and biotech. Welcome back. When we talked about this earlier we were wondering if a legal ruling against the's travel ban could be made before it went into effect. It was supposed to go into effect today. Had of these preemptive rulings come about the the lawsuits were filed as I expected they would right after the executive order was issued and they said yes technically does not take effect until today but it is very clear that it is going to take effect and we have the power to stop it from taking effect that is what the court said. Widened the significant changes made by the second executive order make a difference. Because I believe we spoke about this the last time. Because the issue was the fact that both courts found that based on President Trump's own statements as well as those of his advisors notably former Mayor Giuliani suggested that what he was really after is a Muslim ban and that offended the establishment clause. Nothing that happened between the entry of the first executive order and the second executive order cured that taint. In fact one of the things that was cited was of February 16 comment by Stephen Miller one of the president's advisers saying we are only really making some cosmetic changes to address the ninth circuit ruling which suggests the primary purpose remained a constitutionally impermissible one according to these federal judges that what was being done was primarily religiously motivated executive order with respect to this travel ban. Besides the fact that both courts found this been targeted against Muslims were they persuaded by any of the other arguments made by the administration. The national security and -- argument so to speak. Both courts did acknowledge that under the immigration action that the president does have broad authority to exclude -- the statute causes aliens based on a finding that their entry would be detrimental to the United States. This or that does not matter because there is a limit and that limit is where an order that arises out of the statutory authority is primarily motivated by a constitutionally impermissible inserted -- [Indiscernible] it stops or limits the president's ability to exercise the broad authority that he is otherwise given under these congressional enactments. I said that there are more lawsuits against the travel ban pending. Is California involved in any of those lawsuits? Yes California with the decision to join the Washington state lawsuit which is before the same judge that issued the nationwide injunction against the first executive order. He has actually deferred ruling on the issues in that case. Especially in light of the two rulings that have just come down. California have is -- has asserted interest on behalf of the universities and its tourist industries/of course the tourist industry was what was behind the state of the Hawaii lawsuit so yes California is definitely in the mix here and is asserting the same kinds of interest at the other states have that this travel ban harms its universities and its citizens generally. The California lawsuit points out that 27% of our residents or citizens are foreign-born. You said a federal judge in Washington state has deferred a ruling because of the other two federal rulings I came down? I do not want to read his mind on this but the fact is that he has not issued a ruling and that we do have these two rulings from these other federal judges in other states there may not be a perceived urgency to issue a ruling in light of that. Interestingly the Hawaii District Court judge had a case pending at the time that Judge Robert issued his ruling with respect to the first executive order and specifically deferred ruling in light of Judge Robert nationwide and judgment on the first order. Think something is going on but ultimately the judge will make a decision in his own time. What are the next steps in this legal battle? The next possible steps are that you just proceeded to a hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction where full airing of the merits will actually be held. What is likely to happen is that the Department of Justice will actually go ahead and appeal both of these rulings I assume to the Ninth Circuit and ultimately will wind up before the Supreme Court. There may be an issue given that this is a temporary order that's in place about whether that will actually address these issues at this point. I think it is likely that you will see movement in the appeals court before the proceedings in the District Court for I have been speaking with Dan Eaton apartment -- a partner in a law firm. Thank you. Thank you.

Hours before it was to take effect, President Donald Trump's revised travel ban was put on hold Wednesday by a federal judge in Hawaii who questioned whether the administration was motivated by national security concerns.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson also said Hawaii would suffer financially if the executive order blocked the flow of students and tourists to the state, and he concluded that Hawaii was likely to succeed on a claim that the ban violates First Amendment protections against religious discrimination.

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"The illogic of the government's contentions is palpable," Watson wrote. "The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed."

Trump called the ruling an example of "unprecedented judicial overreach" and said his administration would appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We're going to win. We're going to keep our citizens safe," the president said at a rally in Nashville. "The danger is clear. The law is clear. The need for my executive order is clear."

The judge issued his 43-page ruling less than two hours after hearing Hawaii's request for a temporary restraining order to stop the ban from being put into practice.

The ruling came as opponents renewed their legal challenges across the country, asking judges in three states to block the executive order that targets people from six predominantly Muslim countries. Federal courts in Maryland, Washington state and Hawaii heard arguments Wednesday about whether it should be allowed to take effect early Thursday as scheduled.

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In all, more than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban.

RELATED: Trump’s Revised Order Affects Six Muslim-Majority Countries, Suspends Refugee Program

Watson made it clear that his decision applied nationwide, ruling that the ban could not be enforced at any U.S. borders or ports of entry or in the issuance of visas.

Nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2012, he is currently the only Native Hawaiian judge serving on the federal bench and the fourth in U.S. history. He received his law degree from Harvard in 1991.

In Maryland, attorneys told a federal judge that the measure still discriminates against Muslims.

Government attorneys argued that the ban was revised substantially to address legal concerns, including the removal of an exemption for religious minorities from the affected countries.

"It doesn't say anything about religion. It doesn't draw any religious distinctions," said Jeffrey Wall, who argued for the Justice Department.

Attorneys for the ACLU and other groups said that Trump's statements on the campaign trail and statements from his advisers since he took office make clear that the intent of the ban is to ban Muslims. Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller has said the revised order was designed to have "the same basic policy outcome" as the first.

The new version of the ban details more of a national security rationale. It is narrower and eases some concerns about violating the due-process rights of travelers.

It applies only to new visas from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen and temporarily shuts down the U.S. refugee program. It does not apply to travelers who already have visas.

"Generally, courts defer on national security to the government," said U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang. "Do I need to conclude that the national security purpose is a sham and false?"

In response, ACLU attorney Omar Jadwat pointed to Miller's statement and said the government had put out misleading and contradictory information about whether banning travel from six specific countries would make the nation safer.

The Maryland lawsuit also argues that it's against federal law for the Trump administration to reduce the number of refugees allowed into the United States this year by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000. Attorneys argued that if that aspect of the ban takes effect, 60,000 people would be stranded in war-torn countries with nowhere else to go.

Chuang made no immediate ruling.

RELATED: Federal Appeals Court Refuses To Reinstate Trump’s Travel Ban

In the Hawaii case, the federal government said there was no need to issue an emergency restraining order because Hawaii officials offered only "generalized allegations" of harm.

Jeffrey Wall of the Office of the Solicitor General challenged Hawaii's claim that the order violates due-process rights of Ismail Elshikh as a U.S. citizen who wants his mother-in-law to visit his family from Syria. He says courts have not extended due-process rights outside of a spousal relationship.

Neal Katyal, a Washington, D.C., attorney representing Hawaii, called the story of Elshiskh, an Egyptian immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, "the story of America."

In Washington state, U.S. District Judge James Robart — who halted the original ban last month — heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which is making arguments similar to the ACLU's in the Maryland case.

Robart said he is most interested in two questions presented by the group's challenge to the ban: whether the ban violates federal immigration law, and whether the affected immigrants would be "irreparably harmed" should the ban go into effect.

He spent much of Wednesday's hearing grilling the lawyers about two seeming conflicting federal laws on immigration — one that gives the president the authority to keep "any class of aliens" out of the country, and another that forbids the government from discriminating on the basis of nationality when it comes to issuing immigrant visas.

Robart said he would issue a written order, but he did not say when. He is also overseeing the challenge brought by Washington state.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson argues that the new order harms residents, universities and businesses, especially tech companies such as Washington state-based Microsoft and Amazon, which rely on foreign workers. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have joined the claim.