Trump vows to appeal against travel ban
ruling to Supreme Court
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[March 16, 2017]
By Dan Levine and Mica Rosenberg
HONOLULU/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A defiant
Donald Trump has pledged to appeal against a federal judge's order
placing an immediate halt on his revised travel ban, describing the
ruling as judicial overreach that made the United States look weak.
In granting the temporary restraining order in response to a lawsuit by
the state of Hawaii, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson found on
Wednesday that "a reasonable, objective observer ... would conclude that
the executive order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular
Early on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang issued a
nationwide preliminary injunction in a similar case in Maryland brought
by refugee resettlement agencies represented by the American Civil
Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center.
Chuang ruled that the agencies were likely to succeed in proving that
the travel ban portion of the executive order was intended to be a ban
on Muslims and, as a result, violates the U.S. Constitution's religious
"To avoid sowing seeds of division in our nation, upholding this
fundamental constitutional principle at the core of our nation's
identity plainly serves a significant public interest," Chuang wrote in
The actions were the latest legal blow to the administration's efforts
to temporarily ban refugees as well as travelers from six predominantly
Muslim countries. The president has said the ban is needed for national
However, the orders, while a victory for the plaintiffs, are only a
first step and the government could ultimately win its underlying case.
Watson and Chuang were appointed to the bench by former Democratic
President Barack Obama.
Trump, speaking after the Hawaii ruling at a rally in Nashville, called
his revised executive order a "watered-down version" of his first.
The president said he would take the case “as far as it needs to go,”
including to the Supreme Court, in order to get a ruling that the ban is
The likely next stop if the administration decides to contest the Hawaii
judge’s ruling would be the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Three judges on the Ninth Circuit upheld a restraining order on the
first travel ban issued by a Washington state judge.
At that point, the government’s legal options were to ask for a hearing
by a larger panel of judges or petition the Supreme Court to hear the
case. Instead, the administration withdrew the ban, promising to retool
it in ways that would address the legal issues.
If the Ninth Circuit were to uphold the Hawaii court’s ruling, an appeal
to the Supreme Court would be complicated by its current makeup of four
conservative and four liberal judges, with no ninth justice since the
death of Antonin Scalia more than a year ago.
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President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the American Center for
Mobility for American Manufactured Vehicles in Ypsilanti Township,
Michigan, U.S. March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
The travel ban has deeply divided the country on liberal and
conservative lines, and it is unlikely that a ninth Supreme Court
justice would be seated in time to hear an appeal in this case.
Trump signed the new ban on March 6 in a bid to overcome legal
problems with his January executive order, which caused chaos at
airports and sparked mass protests before a Washington judge stopped
its enforcement in February.
Watson's order is only temporary until the broader arguments in the
case can be heard. He set an expedited hearing schedule to determine
if his ruling should be extended.
Trump's first travel order was more sweeping than the second revised
order. Like the current one, it barred citizens of Iran, Libya,
Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States for
90 days, but it also included Iraq, which was subsequently taken off
The revised ban also excluded legal permanent residents and existing
visa holders and provided waivers for various categories of
immigrants with ties to the United States.
Hawaii and other opponents of the ban claimed that the motivation
behind it was Trump's campaign promise of "a total and complete
shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
In Washington state, a group of plaintiffs applying for immigrant
visas asked U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle - who
suspended the first ban - to stop the new order. Robart was
appointed to the bench by Republican former President George W.
Judge Robart said he would issue a written ruling, but did not
specify a time line.
(Reporting by Dan Levine in Honolulu, Mica Rosenberg in New York and
Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Dan Whitcomb in Los
Angeles; Editing by Toby Chopra)
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