Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Donald Trump travel ban blocked: Hawaii Federal Judge's full comments

'The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable,' says justice

Harriet Agerholm
Thursday 16 March 2017 11:59 GMT
Federal district court Judge Derrick Watson was scathing of the Trump administration’s argument for the ban
Federal district court Judge Derrick Watson was scathing of the Trump administration’s argument for the ban (Getty)

Judge Derrick Watson was scathing about Donald Trump’s revised executive order barring travel from six predominantly Muslim nations, saying it "targets Islam".

Hours before it was due to come into effect, the district judge in Hawaii, placed a nationwide block on the President’s action.

Here are some highlights from his ruling:

Responding to the Government's argument that the executive order did not discriminate on the basis of religion because it applied to “only a small fraction" of Muslim-majority nations, he said:

“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.

“It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7 per cent to 99.8 per cent.

“It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam. Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the Government does, that it does not.”

Donald Trump blast "judicial overreach" as Hawaii judge blocks travel ban

Addressing the White House's suggestion that the courts should only consider the wording of an order when assessing its purpose, he said:

“Only a few weeks ago, the Ninth Circuit commanded otherwise. The Supreme Court has been even more emphatic: courts may not 'turn a blind eye to the context in which policy arose.'"

Specifically addressing the claims of the Trump campaign Judge Watson said:

“The Government appropriately cautions that, in determining purpose, courts should not look into the ‘veiled psyche’ and ‘secret motives’ of government decision makers and may not undertake a 'judicial psychoanalysis of a drafter’s heart of hearts'.

“The Government need not fear. The remarkable facts at issue here require no such impermissible inquiry. For instance, there is nothing 'veiled' about this press release: ‘Donald J Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’.”

He added that Mr Trump’s words, along with those of his team, betrayed the true purpose of the order.

“Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude, as does the Court for purposes of the instant Motion for [a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)], that the stated secular purpose of the executive order is, at the very least, 'secondary to a religious objective' of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims.”

Concluding, he said:

“Plaintiffs have shown a strong likelihood of succeeding on their claim that the executive order violates first amendment rights under the constitution.

“When considered alongside the constitutional injuries and harms discussed above, and the questionable evidence supporting the Government’s national security motivations, the balance of equities and public interests justify granting the plaintiffs TRO’.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in