On Tuesday, a federal judge in Hawaii - the same one Jeff Sessions once derided as a "judge on an island in the Pacific" - dealt the president yet another setback in his bid to impose travel restrictions on a number of nations, a lot of them Muslim-majority. Health-care reforms are flailing, tax reform is in danger, the border wall remains metaphorical and, yesterday, Trump's beleaguered travel ban, now in its third iteration, was slapped down by Honolulu-based U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson. While Judge Chuang emphasizes that this does not by itself prove that the new travel ban is unconstitutional, it does undercut the government's efforts to prove that security considerations, not targeting Muslims, were the true objective of the order.
The ban would prevent people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, North Korea and certain Venezuelan government officials from traveling to the U.S.
The order, however, keeps the ban in place for travelers from North Korea, which sends very few visitors to the US, and Venezuela, though only certain government officials from that country are subject to the ban.
USA Today reported that Watson, who issued a nationwide block against the travel ban, said the measure was "simultaneously overbroad and underinclusive" because it targets entire countries rather than risky individuals.
Watson, who blocked a previous Trump ban in March, wrote in his 40-page ruling that the new restriction "suffers from precisely the same maladies at its predecessor". "Under the new Maryland order, the third ban on entry can not apply to grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States".
Reaz Jafri, who leads the immigration practice at Withers Bergman LLP in NY, said the Trump administration will want to push the Supreme Court to resolve the dispute once and for all.
Hawaii's attorney general says the state is ready to defend against what he calls a discriminatory travel ban by the Trump administration. Unlike the Hawaii ruling, however, the decision by the Maryland judge is limited to individuals without bona fide connection to the United States.
"And like the two before it, this one is going down to defeat in the courts".
The Justice Department said it will immediately appeal.
The White House said on October 17 that Watson's latest ruling was "dangerously flawed" and "undercuts the president's efforts to keep the American people safe".
Judge Chuang's order had a stronger quality than the one issued in Hawaii by Judge Watson. It prohibits the administration from enforcing the ban against people who can not prove they have a "bona fide" - or good faith - relationship with US persons or entities, such as businesses or universities. This was a telling indication that the first part of the Muslim ban is being viewed by the Supreme Court Justices with considerably greater constitutional skepticism than the second part.
Chuang is the second judge to halt the ban.
Trump signed the travel ban that the two judges just blocked on September 24, just hours before his previous travel ban was set to expire.
That is a definition that the Supreme Court did not second-guess, although it did not rule directly on the question.
On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court restored a degree of judicial order.
This time, Trump's order was found to discriminate by using the nationality of travelers "as a proxy" for their security risk. Trump's third travel ban must stand.