The third time was not the charm for President Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
The new travel ban was only a day away from going into effect when two federal judges issued preliminary injunctions on Tuesday halting its implementation.
The first order came out in the afternoon when Judge Derrick Watson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii blocked the ban across the United States for all persons covered by it, except for North Koreans and Venezuelans. Trump’s first travel ban, issued soon after his inauguration, was enjoined. He followed it with a second ban, which was also constitutionally defective.
Travel ban 3.0, according to Watson, “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor.”
Watson was highly critical of the government lawyers representing the Trump administration.
“The government’s contentions are troubling,” Watson wrote in his opinion. “Not only do they ask this court to overlook binding precedent issued in the specific context of the various executive immigration orders authored since the beginning of 2017, but they ask this court to ignore its fundamental responsibility to ensure the legality and constitutionality of [the presidential order]. Following the Ninth Circuit’s lead, this court declined such an invitation before and does so again.”
U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland issued his own order to halt implementation overnight. He rejected the government’s insistence that he ignore Trump’s statements about the travel ban.
“The reasonable observer using a ‘head with common sense’ would rely on the statements of the president to discern the purpose of a presidential proclamation,” Chuang wrote in his decision.
“Here, those statements do not offer ‘persuasive’ rejection of the president’s prior calls for a Muslim ban, or his stated intention to use a ban on certain ‘dangerous territory’ to effectuate a Muslim ban, nor do they show that the stated intention to impose a Muslim ban has been ‘repealed or otherwise repudiated.’ Rather, they cast the proclamation as the inextricable re-animation of the twice-enjoined Muslim ban, and, in echoes of McCreary, convey the message that the third iteration of the ban—no longer temporary—will be the ‘enhanced expression’ of the earlier ones,” Chuang explained.