Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
President Donald Trump's second attempt at barring entry into the United States from Muslim-majority countries has been put on hold, with a federal judge in Hawaii issuing a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the travel ban. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson's ruling comes two months after another federal court in Washington blocked Trump's initial executive order on immigration, a decision which was upheld by a unanimous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just a few weeks ago.
Judge Watson's opinion was not kind to President Trump or his surrogates, who are quoted extensively as evidence that the ban was specifically targeted toward Muslims. You can read the full opinion below.
Reasonable and Objective
The State of Hawaii and Dr. Ismail Elshikh sued Trump, claiming the travel ban violated the First Amendment's Establishment Cause, which prohibits legislation prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Despite the executive order's lack of religion-specific language, they argued, the intent to discriminate against Muslims was clear. And the court agreed. "Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude," Watson wrote, "that the stated secular purpose of the Executive Order is, at the very least, 'secondary to a religious objective' of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims."
While acknowledging that courts cannot look at the "veiled psyche" and "secret motives" of government lawmakers, Watson said, in no uncertain terms, that such an examination was unnecessary:
The Government need not fear. The remarkable facts at issue here require no such impermissible inquiry. For instance, there is nothing "veiled" about this press release: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" ... Nor is there anything "secret" about the Executive's motive specific to the issuance of the Executive Order: "Rudolph Giuliani explained on television how the Executive Order came to be. He said: 'When [Mr. Trump] first announced it, he said, 'Muslim ban.' He called me up. He said, 'Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.'
You can read the full opinion, along with other statements that got the administration into trouble with the order, below: