[Marxism] Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Latest Travel Ban Nationwide

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Mar 15 18:10:21 MDT 2017

NY Times, Mar. 15 2017
Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Latest Travel Ban Nationwide

A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order Wednesday evening 
blocking President Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, 
dealing a political blow to the White House and signaling that 
proponents of the ban face a long and risky legal battle ahead.

The ruling was the second frustrating defeat for Mr. Trump’s travel ban, 
after a federal court in Seattle halted an earlier version of the 
executive order last month. Mr. Trump responded to that setback with 
fury, lashing out at the judiciary before ultimately abandoning the order.

He issued a new and narrower travel ban on March 6, with the aim of 
pre-empting new lawsuits by abandoning some of the most contentious 
elements of the first version.

But Mr. Trump evidently failed in that goal: Democratic states and 
nonprofit groups that work with immigrants and refugees raced into court 
to attack the updated order, alleging that it was a thinly veiled 
version of the ban on Muslim migration that he had pledged to enact last 
year, as a presidential candidate.

Administration lawyers argued in multiple courts on Wednesday that the 
president was merely exercising his national security powers and that no 
element of the executive order, as written, could be construed as a 
religious test for travelers.

But in the lawsuit brought by Hawaii’s attorney general, Doug Chin, 
Judge Derrick K. Watson appeared skeptical of the government’s claim 
that past comments by Mr. Trump and his allies had no bearing on the case.

“Are you saying we close our eyes to the sequence of statements before 
this?” Judge Watson, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, 
asked in a hearing Wednesday before he ruled against the administration.

Mr. Trump’s original ban, released on Jan. 27, unleashed scenes of chaos 
at American airports and spurred mass protests. Issued abruptly on a 
Friday afternoon, it temporarily barred travel from seven 
majority-Muslim nations, making no explicit distinction between citizens 
of those countries who already had green cards or visas and those who 
did not.

It also suggested that Christian refugees from those countries would be 
given preference in the future, opening it up to accusations that it 
unlawfully targeted Muslims for discrimination.

After a federal court in Seattle issued a broad injunction against the 
policy, Mr. Trump removed major provisions and reissued the order. The 
new version exempted key groups, like green card and visa holders, and 
dropped the section that would have given Christians special treatment.

Mr. Trump also removed Iraq from the list of countries covered by the 
ban after the Pentagon expressed worry that it would damage the United 
States’ relationship with the Iraqi government in the fight against the 
Islamic State.

Yet those concessions did not placate critics of the ban, who argue that 
it still imposes a de facto religious test on travelers from big parts 
of the Middle East.

The lawsuits have also claimed that the order disrupts the functions of 
companies, charities, public universities and hospitals that have deep 
relationships overseas. In the Hawaii case, nearly five dozen technology 
companies, including Airbnb, Dropbox, Lyft and TripAdvisor, joined in a 
brief objecting to the travel ban.

The new executive order preserves major components of the original. It 
halts, with few exceptions, the granting of new visas and green cards to 
people from six majority-Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, 
Syria and Yemen — for at least 90 days. It also stops all refugees from 
entering for 120 days and limits refugee admissions to 50,000 people in 
the current fiscal year. Former President Barack Obama had set in motion 
plans to admit more than twice that number.

Mr. Trump has said the pause is needed to re-evaluate screening 
procedures for immigrants from the six countries before allowing travel 
to resume. “Each of these countries is a state sponsor of terrorism, has 
been significantly compromised by terrorist organizations, or contains 
active conflict zones,” he wrote in the order, signed March 6.

Jeffrey Wall, a lawyer in the United States solicitor general’s office, 
said in the Maryland courtroom Wednesday that the order was based on 
national security concerns raised by the Obama administration in its 
move toward stricter screening of travelers from the six countries.

“What the order does is a step beyond what the previous administration 
did, but it’s on the same basis,” Mr. Wall said.

The judge’s order was not a ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. 
Trump’s ban, and the administration has consistently expressed 
confidence that courts will ultimately affirm Mr. Trump’s power to issue 
the restrictions.

But the legal debate is likely to be a protracted and unusually personal 
fight for the administration, touching Mr. Trump and a number of his key 
aides directly and raising the prospect that their public comments and 
private communications will be scrutinized extensively.

Multiple lawsuits challenging the travel ban have extensively cited Mr. 
Trump’s comments during the presidential campaign. He first proposed to 
bar all Muslims from entering the United States, and then offered an 
alternative plan to ban travel from a number of Muslim countries, which 
he described as a politically acceptable way of achieving the same goal.

The lawsuits also cited Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City 
mayor who advises Mr. Trump, who said he had been asked to help craft a 
Muslim ban that would pass legal muster.

And they highlighted comments by Stephen Miller, an adviser to the 
president, who cast the changes to Mr. Trump’s first travel ban as mere 
technical adjustments aimed at ushering the same policy past the review 
of a court.

Bob Ferguson, the Washington attorney general, has indicated that in an 
extended legal fight, his office could seek depositions from 
administration officials and request documents that would expose the 
full process by which Trump aides crafted the ban.

Mr. Trump has reacted with fury to unfavorable court rulings in the 
past, savaging the judiciary after the court in Seattle blocked major 
parts of his first travel order and singling out the judge for derision 
on Twitter.

A White House spokesman insisted later that Mr. Gorsuch had not been 
criticizing Mr. Trump specifically.

If Mr. Trump lashes out again at the judiciary, it could set the stage 
in an uncomfortable way for Mr. Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings, which 
begin next week.

Gary Gately contributed reporting from Greenbelt, Md., and Barbara 
Tanabe from Honolulu.

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