A federal judge in Hawaii just issued a ruling blocking President Donald Trump’s second attempt at a ban on travel ― a scaled-back version that targeted all non-visa holders from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as a halt on the U.S. refugee resettlement program ― just hours before the new restrictions were to take effect.
According to several news reports, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said sections of the new travel order likely amounted to a violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which forbids the government from disfavoring certain religions over others.
The state of Hawaii had sued over the ban, arguing that the travel and refugee provisions violate due process rights and religious freedom protections. It also says the policy would hinder educational institutions and tourism in the state.
The ban was scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday, 10 days after Trump signed the revised order. The staggered rollout was designed to give fair warning to those potentially affected ― a contrast from the disorderly implementation of the president’s original executive order, which left thousands stranded, detained or with their visas canceled without notice.
After several delays and false starts, the administration reworked the executive order to create one that would pass muster in the courts, although Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser, conceded before it was unveiled that it would have the “same basic policy outcome.”