Federal Court Issues Order Temporarily Blocking Travel Ban (March 15, 2017)

As detailed in our March 7 update, earlier this month the White House issued a new Executive Order (EO) banning travel to the United States by citizens from certain countries, subject to limited exceptions. The travel ban was to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 16. Earlier today, a federal trial court in Hawaii issued an order temporarily blocking the travel ban from taking effect. In a strongly-worded opinion, the court stated that the EO’s alleged secular purpose of national security “is, at the very least, secondary to a religious objective of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims” into the United States. In blocking the travel ban, the court determined that a reasonable person would conclude that the travel ban was issued to disfavor a particular religion in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause. Again, the court’s order blocking the ban is temporary, pending a full decision on the merits of the case. Media reports suggest that the White House plans to appeal the ruling.

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