Virginia Judge Blocks Trump Travel Ban With A Sharp Rebuke

Darin HammondFeb 15, 2017

On Feb. 13, Judge Leonie Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's motion for a preliminary injunction on the president's executive order temporarily banning travel from seven predominately Muslim countries.

The ruling comes after a similar injunction imposed by a judge in Washington state.

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.

It's the Seattle court where Judge James L. Robart on February 3 called for a temporary nationwide halt to Trump's travel ban, which the White House appealed to the 9th Circuit.

President Donald Trump's travel ban has been enjoined in Virginia.

U.S. District Judge James Robart - who issued the temporary restraining order at the request of Washington state and Minnesota on February 4 - rejected the U.S. Justice Department's request to pause the underlying case in lower court while the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether a larger, 11-judge panel will review the case.

The ruling applies only to the state of Virginia, unlike those in Washington and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which apply to the entire country.

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

Tareq and Ammar Aquel Mohammed Aziz are now in the U.S. She said the evidence introduced so far indicates that Virginia's challenge to the ban will succeed once it proceeds to trial.

The federal judge wrote that the state "has produced unrebutted evidence" that the order "was not motivated by rational national security concerns" but "religious prejudice" toward Muslims.

A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately return an email seeking comment Monday night.

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