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Trump's Muslim Ban Halted Indefinitely—but What Will His Next Move Be?

Hawaii State Attorney General Douglas Chin argued that the Muslim ban both discriminates against Muslims and could hurt Hawaii's tourism industry.
March 30, 2017, 9:27pm

Below is what happened on Trump's 48th day in office. You can find out what damage was done every other day so far on the Saddest Calendar on the Internet.

Two weeks ago, US District Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii put a limited freeze on Trump's Muslim ban, which suspends new visas to people from six majority Muslim countries and halts the US refugee program. Yesterday, he extended the block indefinitely.

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Hawaii State Attorney General Douglas Chin argued that the Muslim ban both discriminates against Muslims and could hurt Hawaii's tourism industry.

The Trump administration reportedly asked the judge to limit the ruling to cover only the part of the president's executive order, according to ABC. Department of Justice attorney Chad Readler also said that a freeze on the US refugee program had no effect on Hawaii, to which Watson rebutted that 20 refugees had been resettled in Hawaii since 2010. Readler's response: "20 is simply a small number of refugees."

According to CNN, the Justice Department can now appeal Watson's ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It wouldn't be the first time this court would face a version of Trump's Muslim Ban; in February, the 9th Circuit unanimously turned down Trump's appeal after US District Court Judge James Robart blocked his original ban.

But the Trump administration may not be so quick to make an appeal. According to Josh Gerstein's report in Politico, "some attorneys believe the Justice Department is intentionally dragging its feet in the Hawaii case because the 9th Circuit rotates the three-judge panels assigned to motions every month, with the next swap-out due Saturday," and this month's panel consists of two judges that Obama appointed.

So, the Trump administration could be looking to appeal in another district—notably, the Richmond-based 4th Circuit, as a Maryland judge blocked the visa-ban aspect of Trump's rewritten draft. Politico reports that some observers don't think his chances are much better here, as the court has been traditionally conservative, but less so in recent years.

As has been the case with the standing of many of Trump's orders (and his actual election), we likely won't know until we know.