Trump travel ban upheld but previous block rulings remain

Trump travel ban upheld but previous block rulings remain

Hawaii's attorney general says new USA government rules prohibiting the use of laptops and other electronic gadgets on flights from eight Muslim-majority nations prove that President Donald Trump's control of immigration and national security isn't hampered by the state's lawsuit over his travel ban.

In a lawsuit brought by Hawaii, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson issued a temporary restraining order against the travel ban, suspending it from taking effect nationwide for 14 days.

The losses forced Trump to significantly revise his initial executive order.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said: "We're confident that the president's fully lawful and necessary action will ultimately be allowed to move forward through the rest of the court systems".

US District Judge Anthony Trenga, in a 32-page opinion, found that the plaintiffs in the case - Linda Sarsour v. Donald Trump - were not likely to succeed in their challenge to the March 6 executive order barring travel from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and temporarily halting the refugee program. "And while the President and his advisers have continued to make statements following the issuance of EO-1 (the first executive order) that have characterized or anticipated the nature of EO-2 (the revised ban) the court can not conclude for the purposes of the motion that these statements, together with the President's past statements, have effectively disqualified him from exercising his lawful presidential authority".

Gadeir Abbas, an attorney for the plaintiffs, pointed to Trump's remarks at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, saying they showed the president's real motive is a bias against Islam. It also spells out the administration's justification for the ban and does not seek cancellation of existing visas, as the original order did.

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As the Times notes, Trenga's ruling has no immediate impact on the ban because it was already put on hold by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland, but it does give government lawyers a hail mary pass as they argue the case in court. But it gives ammunition to government lawyers arguing for the ban across several US courts where cases against it are pending.

He rejected the notion that the immigration ban was in any way a discriminatory religious test.

"Thankfully, this decision does not alter the injunctions that are already preventing the implementation of the Trump administration's illegal executive order".

Instead, Trenga wrote, the legal question is whether the travel ban "falls within the bounds of the president's statutory authority or whether the president has exercised that authority in violation of constitutional restraints".

The Trump administration will likely find some ammunition for its appeal in Trenga's ruling.

For more news, visit Bloomberg.

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