Judge to Consider Travel Ban Extension 03/29 06:09
HONOLULU (AP) -- A federal judge in Hawaii who temporarily blocked President
Donald Trump's revised travel ban planned to hear arguments Wednesday on
whether to extend his order until the state's lawsuit works its way through the
But even if U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson does not issue a
longer-lasting hold on the ban, the temporary block would stay in place until
he rules otherwise. Legal experts say it is unlikely Watson would side with the
The state says the policy discriminates against Muslims, while the
government says it falls within Trump's power to protect national security.
Here's a look at what led up to Wednesday's hearing in Honolulu:
THE TEMPORARY ORDER
This month, Watson prevented the federal government from suspending new
visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries and freezing the nation's
refugee program. The ruling came just hours before the ban was to take effect.
Watson, nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama in 2012,
agreed with Hawaii that the ban would hurt the state's tourism-dependent
economy and that it discriminates based on nationality and religion.
Trump called the ruling an example of "unprecedented judicial overreach."
The next day, a judge in Maryland also blocked the six-nation travel ban but
said it wasn't clear that the suspension of the refugee program was similarly
motivated by religious bias.
The federal government appealed the Maryland ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals and sought to narrow the Hawaii ruling.
WHAT DOES HAWAII WANT?
The state has urged Watson to extend his ruling until the lawsuit is
"And after the repeated stops and starts of the last two months, it would
ensure that the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs, and of Muslim citizens
throughout the United States, could be finally and fully vindicated," lawyers
for the state said in a court filing.
Ismail Elshikh, the imam of a Honolulu mosque, has joined the legal
challenge, saying the ban would prevent his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting
family in the U.S.
WHAT DOES THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WANT?
The Department of Justice opposes Hawaii's request to extend Watson's
temporary order. But the department said that if the judge agrees, he should
narrow the ruling to cover only the part of Trump's executive order that
suspends new visas for people from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.
Hawaii's lawsuit doesn't show how the state would be harmed by other
sections of the ban, including suspending the refugee program, government
attorneys said in court papers.
Other parts of the travel ban "do not apply to plaintiffs at all, but
instead simply facilitate the government's ability to identify and fix
potential gaps in the nation's vetting procedures," Trump lawyers wrote.
Trump's revised executive order involves "a detailed review of the national
security risks that pose the greatest threats to the nation, and it then
provided targeted measures to address those security risks in a religiously
neutral manner," government lawyers say in court documents.
CAN AN APPEALS COURT AFFECT THE HAWAII RULING?
The president is asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to put the
ruling by the judge in Maryland on hold while it considers the case.
The Richmond, Virginia-based appeals court will hear arguments May 8. If the
court sides with the federal government, it would not have a direct effect on
the Hawaii ruling, legal experts said.
The Trump administration's best bet for saving the travel ban is to have the
case go before the U.S. Supreme Court, said Richard Primus, a professor of
constitutional law at the University of Michigan law school.
"What a ruling in 4th Circuit in favor of the administration would do is
create a split in authority between federal courts in different parts of the
country," he said. "Cases with splits in authority are cases the U.S. Supreme
Court exists to resolve."