The Trump administration is expected to appeal this latest decision. The raging battle, now in its ninth month, has spurred a constitutional confrontation that could define powers of the presidency for years to come.
The judges found that Trump's third travel ban appears impermissibly discriminatory, does not appear to have a legitimate national security goal and violates USA immigration law. Like previous iterations of the travel ban order, Travel Ban 3.0 bars all or most entry into the United States by citizens of several Muslim-majority nations, with the important difference that the latest ban is permanent rather than a temporary measure lasting for 90 days. But the judge did allow temporary entry of employees or meeting-attendees for organizations had joined in the Maryland lawsuit against the Trump order. Critics said that while North Korea and Venezuela are not predominantly Muslim, the ban would affect very few travelers from there, and their inclusion on the list may have been created to avoid discrimination allegations. He said the travel ban on that country would affect fewer than 100 people who appear to lack ties to the U.S.
Is that assessment likely to tame Trump's tweeter feed?
The judge took that limitation from action this past summer by the Supreme Court, when it considered how much of President Trump's second version could be enforced. That order was in effect for a week (often chaotically) before being put on hold by the courts, and was ultimately withdrawn by the administration.
Another writer for National Review, David French, made his point in the headline of his article: "Once Again, Judges Defy the Law to Defy Trump".
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the ruling "dangerously flawed" and said it "undercuts the president's efforts to keep the American people safe".
Sanders says the restrictions are "vital" to ensuring foreign nations comply with USA security standards. The judge also found that the restrictions are rife with "inconsistencies" in how they block certain travelers from Venezuela and Libya, while allowing others, without explaining why.
Watson granted the state of Hawaii's request to temporarily block the Trump administration from enforcing the policy.
It remains unclear whether the administration will go directly to the Supreme Court or seek review first in the federal appeals courts, which have repeatedly ruled against the prior travel bans. It concludes that Travel Ban 3.0 is largely a continuation and extension of the previous orders, and has the same underlying unconstitutional goal of discriminating against Muslims.
Earlier versions of the ban didn't include North Korea, Venezuela or Chad, and foundered before judges who said they were aimed at people from majority-Muslim countries, partly fulfilling candidate Trump's calls to ban all Muslims. It was supposed to take effect at midnight EDT Wednesday.
There have been at least six legal challenges to Trump's latest travel ban.
The states of Washington, California, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and OR last week restarted their litigation in Seattle, and individuals have sued as well. The courts have previously examined his campaign statements calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S.as evidence that his travel ban was created to discriminate against Muslims rather than protect the nation. Announced without prior warning, it caused chaos at US airports and a torrent of lawsuits objecting to the sudden exclusion of people who had a right to be in the U.S. Just like its predecessors, Muslim Ban 3.0 violates the Constitution, federal statutes, and our bedrock values of religious neutrality and tolerance. Those statements, according to the courts in San Francisco and Richmond, Virginia, betrayed an anti-Muslim animus behind the executive orders.