Federal judge halts Trump travel ban for Virginia residents
15 February, 2017, 00:53 | Author: Eddie Kim
The U.S. courts dealt further setbacks on February 13 to President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily barring entry into the United States for all refugees as well as visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
And unlike the temporary restraining order preventing deportation of such individuals (which expired last week), this new preliminary injunction will last through a trial on the constitutionality of the executive order in this case (unless later modified by the judge).
She noted that a "Muslim ban" was a key part of Trump's campaign, and a press release calling for it remains on his website.
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema found that Virginia is likely to prevail on the merits of its claim that the president's January 27 order violates the establishment clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids the establishment of religion.
"To the contrary, there is evidence that the president's senior national security officials were taken by surprise", she wrote.
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"The president himself acknowledged the conceptual link between a Muslim ban and the EO (executive order)", Judge Brinkema wrote. She also cited news accounts that Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani said the executive order is an effort to find a legal way for Trump to be able to impose his Muslim ban.
"Maximum power does not mean absolute power", she wrote. "Every presidential action must still comply with the limits set" by the separation of powers laid out in the US Constitution.
In light of the existing temporary restraining order in the case pending in Washington/9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brinkema's preliminary injunction is narrowly tailored to address Virginia's harms and now applies only to affected Virginia residents.
Because the Commonwealth is likely to be successful in its claim, the judge granted Attorney General Mark R. Herring's motion for the nation's first preliminary injunction to protect Virginia residents and the Commonwealth itself from the harm caused by the travel ban.
The Yemeni men have since been allowed to enter the United States.
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