Judge Rules States' Case Against Trump Travel Order Can Proceed

Last night Leonie Brinkema, Federal Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, found that President Donald Trump's January 27 Executive Order is actually the Muslim ban that he promised as a candidate, and therefore the Commonwealth is likely to prevail on its claim that the order discriminates against Muslims in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

In light of the existing temporary restraining order in the case pending in Washington/9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brinkema's preliminary injunction is narrowly tailored to address Virginia's harms and now applies only to affected Virginia residents. In California last week a federal appeals court upheld a nationwide restraining order stopping the government from implementing the ban on a temporary basis.

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A final ruling will take months, but in the meantime Brinkema's ruling will specifically extend to all Virginia residents affected by the ban, which extends to green card holders as well as workers and students in the Commonwealth who were lawfully admitted into the country when the ban went into effect on January 27.

Brinkema reportedly pointed out that Trump had called for a "Muslim ban" during the campaign and also said he would seek to help persecuted Christians by giving them priority, which gives the appearance that the order violates the First Amendment by singling out a specific religious group.

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"Accordingly, the Commonwealth... motion of a Preliminary Injunction is granted", the finding said. Herring said he could ask the judge to extend the injunction nationally if the 9th Circuit stay gets reversed.

Under the preliminary injunction, according to the Attorney General's Office, the Trump administration is barred - until a trial on the merits - from "enforcing its ban against any Virginia green card holder or Virginia workers or students who were lawfully in the United States when the executive order went into effect".

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"Maximum power does not mean absolute power", Brinkema wrote of the president's claim of statutory authority for the order under federal law.


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