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Federal judge in Hawaii extends injunction halting travel ban

Posted at 11:26 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 23:58:59-04

A federal judge in Hawaii granted the state’s request for a longer term halt of the revised travel ban executive order Wednesday.

US District Court Judge Derrick Watson blocked the core provisions of the revised executive order two weeks ago, concluding that the order likely violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims.

But Watson’s earlier decision was only a limited freeze of the executive order through a temporary restraining order.

As a result, the plaintiffs asked the judge to convert that decision into a longer term preliminary injunction and Watson agreed Wednesday night, meaning that the President’s 90-day ban on foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries and the 120-ban on all refugees entering the country are now blocked indefinitely until further court action.

Watson’s ruling largely follows his decision from two weeks ago, which used Supreme Court precedent to conclude that Donald Trump’s statements about Muslims during the presidential campaign speak to the constitutionality of the executive order.

“The Court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has,” Watson wrote Wednesday.

“The Court concludes that, on the record before it, Plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim.”

Watson’s ruling on Wednesday means the Justice Department may now appeal the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, should it choose to do so.

DOJ has separately appealed a different federal judge’s decision to halt the 90-day travel ban to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.