31 March 2017

Virginian Judge Ruled In Favor of Trump Travel Ban

US Travel Ban
In an affirmation of presidential authority and the constitutionality of the order, a federal judge in Virginia, United States ruled against a Muslim civil rights group that sought to block the President Donald Trump administration's proposed travel ban.

The ruling last 24 March by U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga is at odds with rulings from federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland who have issued orders preventing the bulk of the executive order from taking effect.

Trenga had questioned at a hearing whether the injunction sought by the civil rights group is necessary, given the orders already in place from the Hawaii and Maryland judges.

His 32-page decision now gives a major victory to the Trump administration and its authority to issue the order, which would temporarily ban immigration from six Muslim-majority countries and suspend the U.S. refugee program.

The legal issue, Trenga wrote, is not to determine whether the executive order "is wise, necessary, under- or over-inclusive, or even fair."

The judge, a George W. Bush appointee, said his job is simply to determine whether the order "falls within the bounds of the President's statutory authority or whether the President has exercised that authority in violation of constitutional restraints."

At this stage of the lawsuit, Trenga concluded, the plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood to succeed on the merits.

Trenga also wrote that the current executive order is substantially different from the first travel ban sought by the Trump administration, which also was blocked by multiple judges before it was rescinded in favor of the current order.

This revised order no longer carves out an exception favoring Christians and other religious minorities from Muslim-majority nations included in the ban. It also spells out the administration's justification for the ban and does not seek cancellation of existing visas, as the original order did.

To reiterate his point, Trenga wrote that the president's past rhetoric has become less significant given the significant changes between the first and second executive orders.

The Justice Department issued a statement praising the ruling. "As the Court correctly explains, the President's Executive Order falls well within his authority to safeguard the nation's security," spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.