Just hours before it was to take effect, the Trump administration’s revised travel ban was blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii. A second judge, in Maryland, followed suit.
Of the two court orders, Hawaii’s (full text here) is the broader, arguing that the Trump ban discriminates on the basis of nationality and, separately, that it would harm the state’s tourism industry.
The Hawaii judge’s ruling made extensive reference to candidate and President Trump’s repeated characterizations of the ban as based first and foremost on religion. An example, from a December news release on donaldtrump.com: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” That violates the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from discriminating, positively or negatively, on the basis of religion.
The travel ban is also under review by a court in Washington state.
The ban, which affects citizens of six mostly Muslim countries, is the administration’s second attempt to craft a policy that passed muster with the country’s legal community. The first version was blocked by a federal court in Seattle in January. The new version removed Iraq from the list of affected countries, exempted green-card and visa holders, and removed language favoring Christians. But it remains, according to the Hawaii and Maryland courts, a policy of religious discrimination at its core.
The court rulings are temporary restraining orders, which require further hearings to be extended. The Justice department is expected to appeal.
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.