Hawaii judge declines to narrow travel ban injunction
A federal judge in Hawaii who issued a temporary restraining order against key parts of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban last week has turned down a Justice Department request to narrow the injunction.
In a ruling Sunday, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson rejected a federal government motion asking the judge to limit his injunction to the portion of the travel ban executive order that restricts travel to the U.S. by citizens of six majority-Muslim countries. [restrict]
The restraining order Watson issued Wednesday appears to halt not only the six-country provision, but also provisions in the Trump order stopping refugee admissions from around the globe for 120 days, capping refugee admissions this fiscal year at 50,000 and ordering a series of studies of vetting procedures and information-sharing with foreign governments.
“The Motion … asks the Court to make a distinction that the Federal Defendants’ previous briefs and arguments never did,” Watson wrote in his new order. “As important, there is nothing unclear about the scope of the Court’s order….(“Defendants…are hereby enjoined from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order across the Nation.”). The Federal Defendants’ Motion is DENIED.”
The Sunday ruling clears the way for the Trump administration to appeal Watson’s initial decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The plaintiffs in the case, the State of Hawaii and the imam of the local Muslim association, had opposed narrowing the temporary restraining order.
“The notion that the Court’s Order would preclude Executive Branch consultation or trench on executive prerogatives is meritless,” lawyers for Hawaii and Imam Ismail Elshikh wrote a court filing Saturday. “The Court’s Order merely prevents executive branch action under the auspices of an illegal Executive Order. The Government could engage in appropriate consultations independent of this order; it simply cannot do so as part and parcel of effectuating the President’s promise to implement a Muslim ban.”
The Justice Department declined to comment on the ruling.
A spokesman for Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin welcomed Watson’s decision.
“We always believed the court’s order was clear and agree with its decision to deny the Department of Justice’s motion,” spokesman Joshua Wisch said in a statement.
The Trump administration is already appealing another injunction issued by a federal judge in Maryland. That order was limited to the six-country visa ban, although U.S. District Court Judge Theodore Chuang left open the possibility he might block other parts of Trump’s revised executive order in the future.
Watson and Chuang are both appointees of President Barack Obama. [/restrict]