U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Kahala Watson has issued a nationwide temporary restraining order against the implementation of President Donald Trump’s revised executive order banning immigration, refugees, and travel from Muslim-majority countries.
The court found: “Because a reasonable, objective observer—enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance—would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose, the Court finds that Plaintiffs… are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim…The record before this Court is unique. It includes significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the Executive Order and its related predecessor.”
The court dismissed President Trump’s argument that the revised executive order was constitutional because it was neutral on its face: “There is nothing ‘veiled’ about [Trump’s] press release…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…”
Earlier today, two other federal district courts in Maryland and Washington state also heard similar legal challenges to the revised executive order. As of this posting, those courts have yet to issue any decisions.