Court Battles

Judge cites Trump allies’ own remarks in block of travel ban

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In his ruling blocking President Trump’s revised travel ban nationwide Wednesday, a federal judge in Hawaii pointed to comments from some of Trump’s top advisers. 

Judge Derrick Watson noted that senior adviser Stephen Miller said in a Fox News interview that the revised order was fundamentally the same as the first, despite a few key changes intended to bolster the administration’s case in court.

Miller told the station that the new order would have the “same basic policy outcome for the country,” and that the revisions were meant to address the concerns of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a Seattle federal judge’s halt on the first travel ban. 

Watson also said there’s nothing “secret about the motive of Trump’s executive order” and went on to quote top Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, who said Trump originally called it a “Muslim ban.”

“He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally,’” Giuliani is quoted as saying.

“These plainly-worded statements, made in the months leading up to and contemporaneous with the signing of the Executive Order, and, in many cases, made by the Executive himself, betray the Executive Order’s stated secular purpose,” Watson wrote.

Watson, a President Obama appointee, ruled after a hearing on Wednesday the state of Hawaii and a Muslim leader showed a “strong” likelihood to succeed in their lawsuit against the new ban. They argue that the policy violates the Establishment Clause and proved that “irreparable harm” is likely if temporary relief is not granted.

After the first order was bombarded with legal challenges and quickly blocked, the Trump administration removed some controversial provisions: Iraq was dropped from the list of targeted countries, along with an indefinite block on Syrian refugees, language prioritizing religious minorities was scrapped, and exemptions like green card holders were more clearly explained. 

The new order was set to go into effect Thursday. 

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