Hawaii Federal Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction


Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson converted his temporary restraining order against President Trump's travel ban into a preliminary injunction. Under federal court rules, temporary restraining orders expire after fourteen days. Judge Watson could have extended the temporary restraining order or let it expire. In issuing the preliminary injunction, however, Judge Watson indefinitely prohibited the federal government from implementing Sections 2 and 6 of the President's March 6th Executive Order. Section 2 prohibited travel from six designated countries, and Section 6 suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

In issuing the injunction, Judge Watson maintained his prior determination that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their case, which he largely based on statements President Trump made prior to signing the original travel ban order. In doing so, Judge Watson rejected the government's argument that the Court should grant deference to the President's authority and not look beyond the Executive Order itself. Specifically, Judge Watson wrote that the historical context and preceding events which the government seeks to avoid, namely President Trump's previous statements, "are... full of religious animus, invective, and obvious pretext...". He then noted that "it is no wonder that the Government urges the Court to altogether ignore that history and context. The Court, however, declines to do so."

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