A judge for the US District Court for the District of Hawaii [official website] granted the state of Hawaii’s request on Wednesday to convert the temporary restraining order (TRO) [order, PDF] blocking President Donald Trump‘s [official profile] travel ban [executive order text] earlier this month into a preliminary injunction [order, PDF]. The court first clarified that it has discretion to convert a TRO into a preliminary injunction based on legal precedent. On that premise, the court proceeded to issue the preliminary injunction, applying the same standard it used for considering whether to issue a TRO: “A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.” The court also rejected the president’s attempts to limit the scope of its injunction stating that, “there is no basis to narrow the Court’s ruling in the manner requested by the Federal Defendants. … That is because the entirety of the Executive Order runs afoul of the Establishment Clause where ‘openly available data support a commonsense conclusion that a religious objective permeated the government’s action.'”
Trump’s travel bans have engendered significant legal controversy leading to nationwide litigation. Last week the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] ordered an expedited schedule [JURIST report] for the appeal of a lower court ruling blocking the Trump travel ban. Two weeks ago a Washington federal judge who ruled against Trump’s first travel ban declined [JURIST report] to extend the injunction on the revised ban. That same 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denied [JURIST report] a rehearing on Trump’s first ban noting that the issue had become moot because the DOJ had withdrawn its appeal on the first ban.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 had requested a hold on the appeal proceedings in February but later withdrew [JURIST reports] it after Trump signed his revised ban.