RICHMOND, Va. — The legal showdown over President Donald Trump’s travel ban will take place inside a Richmond courtroom.
Trump administration lawyers filed a notice to appeal a Maryland federal judge’s ruling that halted a key portion of the revised travel ban earlier this week.
In a decision published Thursday morning, US District Court Judge Theodore Chuang imposed a nationwide halt to the portion of the President’s executive order that barred foreign nationals from six majority-Muslim nations from entering the country.
The ban was set to go into effect Thursday.
The Justice Department has not yet filed its formal appellate brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, where the case will eventually be heard, but that is the next step. The department declined to comment on Friday’s filing.
The Fourth Circuit does not publicize ahead of time who will be on the eventual three-judge panel that hears the case.
The lawsuit in Maryland was brought by refugee aid groups and foreign nationals who argued in court filings that the revised executive order “was motivated by animus toward Muslims,” and impermissibly discriminates on the basis of religion and national origin.
In a 43-page decision, Chuang detailed many of Trump’s statements about Muslims from the campaign trail and concluded that despite the significant changes to who was exempted by the executive order the second time around, “the history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”
ACLU attorney Omar Jadwat, who argued the Maryland case on behalf of the plaintiffs, said: “We look forward to defending this careful and well-reasoned decision in the appeals court.”
Another federal judge in Hawaii issued a decision Wednesday resulted in a nationwide temporary restraining order of two key provisions of travel ban, just hours before the judge in Maryland.
US District Court Judge Derrick Watson’s ruling in Hawaii was slightly broader in scope in that it blocked both the 90-day on all foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, as well as the 120-day ban on all refugees entering the country — whereas Chuang’s ruling only concerns the 90-day ban.
Additionally, Chuang issued a preliminary injunction, which will last through a trial on the merits of the case, whereas Watson only issued a temporary restraining order of the executive order, which is typically more limited in time.
Watson said he intends to set an expedited hearing to determine whether it should be extended and the Justice Department has not yet made any moves to appeal the ruling.