March 16, 2017

OVERRULED: Judge Blocks Second Travel Order; Trump Slams ‘Judicial Overreach’

The ruling, granting a request for a temporary restraining order by the state of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh, stalls the president’s second attempt to suspend admission of nearly all refugees for 120 days and to restrict visas for nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, who said the restraining order applies nationwide, said Trump’s travel order was religiously discriminatory.

In an appearance Wednesday night in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump denounced the ruling as “an unprecedented judicial overreach” and said his administration would pursue the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

“We’re talking about the safety of our nation, the safety and security of our people,” he said, adding: “This ruling makes us look weak.”

Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, called Watson’s ruling “flawed both in reasoning and in scope,” saying Trump’s travel order “falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our nation’s security.”

Mollie Hemingway has more:

Trump said the temporary travel restriction was needed for national security. In issuing his temporary restraining order, Watson said Trump’s order was a result of nothing more than religious animus against Muslims. The judge’s order is predicated on what he thinks Trump wants to do, not the order itself.

Throughout the ruling, Judge Watson concedes there’s nothing about the executive order that would be problematic if not for his interpretation of Trump’s statements made in the months and years prior to issuing it. He repeatedly states his feeling that Trump had a bad motive in issuing the order.

Judges using campaign rhetoric to infer intent instead of plainly evaluating the law as written is a dangerous development. Also because the public can witness the selective use of this trick, it undermines confidence in the judiciary at a time when the judiciary can’t afford too much erosion of trust.

“Feelings” isn’t even a good song, much less a sound basis for overturning a legal executive order.