A federal judge in Hawaii issued an order of Wednesday afternoon blocking several key portions of Donald Trump’s new travel ban just hours before it was set to take effect at midnight.
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson entered the order just before 7:00 PM on Wednesday night.
— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) March 15, 2017
LawNewz is reviewing the order and will provides updates later in the evening.
7:00 PM UPDATE:
Judge Watson blocked implementation of two sections of the new executive order, section 2 and section 6. Section 2 of the new executive order blocks “entry into the United States” for a period of 90 days, certain nationals of six countries referred to in Section 217(a)(12) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), 8 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq.: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.” Section 6 suspends the suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days.
The plaintiffs in the case argued the order violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it discriminates based on religion. The government denied any discrimination on the basis of religion, but the court found Trump’s past statements on the issue indicate the order is really designed to block entry to the United States as a result of a person’s religion.
“[A] reasonable, objective observer—enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance—would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose, the Court finds that Plaintiffs . . . are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim,” Judge Watson wrote in his order.