The latest setback for the Trump administration is what former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna calls a “bad trend.”
“This is a bad trend for the administration, considering the confidence they had in the revised, narrower order,” McKenna told Seattle’s Morning News.
On Wednesday, President Trump’s revised executive order — more commonly known as the “travel ban” — was rejected by a federal judge in Hawaii.
Thursday morning, a federal judge in Maryland rejected the prohibition against six countries with predominantly Muslim populations.
The judge in Maryland ruled on a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocate groups, who argued that the rationale behind the ban was discriminatory in nature. The judge referenced Trump’s statements during the campaign as evidence.
“Despite these changes, the history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban,” Judge Theodore Chuang said.
Chuang did not issue an injunction blocking the entire executive order because, according to the Associated Press, plaintiffs “didn’t sufficiently develop their argument” that the new travel ban “offends the establishment clause” and they failed to give enough evidence to “establish the invalidity of the rest of the order.”
In Honolulu, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said the administration is still showing hostility toward Muslims. Watson with the 9th Circuit Court placed a restraining order on the new travel ban.
A hearing was also held by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart in Seattle. Robart was the judge who blocked the first travel ban in February. However, he did not immediately rule on a request to block the new ban.
A lawsuit was originally brought forth by Washington and Minnesota in response to Trump’s first executive order which banned travel and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries. After that faced a series of legal challenges, a second, revised travel ban was signed which banned travel and refugees from six countries.
McKenna says the Trump administration could be on the losing side of another court battle. That would be especially true if the Supreme Court believe that national security is not the reason behind the order.
“Remember,” he said, “there’s a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act that says you can’t discriminate based on ethnicity and religious background.”
In addition to using the comments, Trump made during his campaign to argue against the ban, a more recent comment made by an administration aide was used as evidence that there is some sort of animus toward Muslims.
“It undercuts the national security rationale,” McKenna said.
The Department of Justice could appeal the temporary restraining orders placed on the travel ban. However, McKenna says taking the case to the Court of Appeals might not be the best strategy — a trial may be needed.