On Friday a judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] released an opinion [text, PDF] affirming Trump’s authority to issue his second travel ban executive order. Despite arguments that the latest travel ban is a rehash of the initial “Muslim ban,” the judge held the new ban had undergone “substantive revisions” and further deliberations, making it “no longer likely that Plaintiffs can succeed on their claim that the predominate purpose of [the new travel ban] is to discriminate against Muslims based on their religion and that [the new travel ban] is a pretext or sham for that purpose.” In addition, the judge said Trump provided sufficient reasons to justify the order, particularly national security needs. The court also held that “[t]he President has unqualified authority to bar physical entry to the United States at the border.” The Muslim activists who initiated this suit vowed to appeal [Politico article] this case further following Friday’s ruling.
Federal courts across the country are taking divergent views on the revised travel ban. On Monday a Hawaii federal judge who issued one of the injunctions refused to clarify [JURIST report] his travel ban ruling. Judge Derrick Watson strongly condemned the new travel ban, saying “[t]he illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable, ” in his opinion [text, PDF]. Last week a Washington federal judge who ruled against Trump’s first travel ban declined [JURIST report] to extend the injunction on the revised ban. Also last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] denied [JURIST report] a rehearing on Trump’s first ban noting that the issue had become moot because the DOJ had withdrawn its appeal on the first ban. The DOJ requested a hold on the appeal proceedings in February and later DOJ withdrew [JURIST reports] it after Trump signed his revised ban.