Thursday, March 16, 2017

Maryland: Trump's New Immigration Executive Order Blocked By 2nd Federal Judge

Hours after a federal judge in Hawaii ruled President Trump's revised executive order on immigration from Muslim-majority countries is unconstitutional, a second federal judge in Maryland ruled the same.

From the New York Times:

The rulings were a second major setback for Mr. Trump in his pursuit of a policy that he has trumpeted as critical for national security. His first attempt to sharply limit travel from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries ended in a courtroom fiasco last month, when a federal court in Seattle halted it.

Mr. Trump issued a new and narrower travel ban, affecting six countries, on March 6, trying to satisfy the courts by removing some of the most contentious elements of the original version.

But in a pointed decision that repeatedly invoked Mr. Trump’s public comments, Judge Derrick K. Watson, of Federal District Court in Honolulu, wrote that a “reasonable, objective observer” would view even the new order as “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.”

In Maryland, Judge Theodore D. Chuang echoed that conclusion hours later, ruling in a case brought by nonprofit groups that work with refugees and immigrants, that the likely purpose of the executive order was “the effectuation of the proposed Muslim ban” that Mr. Trump pledged to enact as a presidential candidate.

In the Maryland case, Judge Chuang, who was also appointed by Mr. Obama, declined to block the entire executive order from going into effect, but ruled that the most important section — banning travel from half a dozen countries — could not be enforced. His decision cited Mr. Trump’s public comments to conclude that there were “strong indications that the national security purpose is not the primary purpose for the travel ban,” and that Mr. Trump may have intended to violate the constitutional prohibition on religious preferences.

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