Trump's Revised Travel Ban Temporarily Blocked by Federal Judge in Hawaii

A protester in Washington, D.C., opposing the modified travel ban. (Ted Eytan / CC 2.0)

President Trump’s revised travel ban has been temporarily struck down by a federal judge in Hawaii. The modified ban, which is facing legal challenges in numerous courtrooms across the country, was blocked late Wednesday afternoon.

The New York Times reports:

Judge Watson, a federal judge based in Honolulu, ruled that the state of Hawaii and an individual plaintiff, Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, had reasonable grounds to challenge the order as religious discrimination. And he concluded that allowing the travel restrictions to go into effect at midnight, as scheduled, could have caused them irreparable harm.

In a pointed decision that repeatedly invoked Mr. Trump’s public comments, Judge Watson wrote that a “reasonable, objective observer” would view the order as “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.”

Judge Watson, an Obama appointee, flatly rejected the government’s argument that a court would have to probe Mr. Trump’s “veiled psyche” to deduce religious animus. He quoted extensively from Mr. Trump’s campaign remarks that Hawaii cited in its lawsuit.

“For instance, there is nothing ‘veiled’ about this press release,” Judge Watson wrote, quoting a Trump campaign document titled “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

The first travel ban underwent modifications after it was struck down in early February on constitutional grounds. The Trump administration had hoped the second iteration, which affects travelers and refugees from six majority-Muslim countries, would stand up in court.

Speaking at a Tennessee rally Wednesday evening, Trump called Judge Watson’s decision “unprecedented judicial overreach.” Watch his remarks below:

The revised travel ban would have gone into effect at the close of the day Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union cheered the news on Twitter:

—Posted by Emma Niles

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