U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson held a hearing Wednesday on Hawaii’s request to extend his temporary hold. Several hours later, he issued a 24-page order blocking the government from suspending new visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and halting the U.S. refugee program.
Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin argued that even though the revised ban has more neutral language, the implied intent is still there. He likened it to a neon sign flashing “Muslim Ban,” which the government hasn’t bothered to turn off.
Chad Readler, a Department of Justice attorney defending Trump’s executive order, told the judge via telephone that Hawaii hasn’t shown how it is harmed by various provisions, including one that would suspend the nation’s refugee program.
Here’s a look at Watson’s ruling and what comes next:
THE PREVIOUS RULING
This month, Watson prevented the federal government from suspending new visas for people from six 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.
THE LATEST RULING
Like his temporary order, Watson’s new order notes that Hawaii has shown the state’s universities and tourism industry will suffer from the ban. A plaintiff in Hawaii’s lawsuit, the imam of a Honolulu mosque, will be harmed if the ban is enforced, Watson said: “These injuries have already occurred and will continue to occur if the Executive Order…