Donald Trump’s second travel ban met another obstacle on Wednesday when a federal judge in Hawaii extended its suspension of the executive order. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson previously slapped a nationwide freeze on Trump’s order, which temporarily halts visas for six Muslim-majority countries (omitting Saudi Arabia, which was included in Trump’s original Muslim ban).
Watson made his ruling after hearing arguments for several hours from Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin and Justice Department representative Chad Readler. The state of Hawaii argued that the ban hurts the state’s tourism department and discriminates against Muslims, with Chin calling it a neon sign that flashes “Muslim ban.”
However, Readler argued the ban falls under Trump’s guidelines of protecting national security. According to The Associated Press, the Trump administration asked Watson to only keep the six-nation ban in his ruling, saying the refugee program has no effect on the state. Watson rebuffed Readler’s claim, saying that part of the travel ban doesn’t run in line with the law:
“It makes little sense to do so. That is because the entirety of the Executive Order runs afoul of the Establishment Clause, where ‘openly available data support a commonsense conclusion that a religious objective permeated the government’s action.”
Hawaii became the first state to take legal action against the revised travel ban. The freeze will now be in effect until the case concludes.
Watson’s original decision didn’t sit well with Trump, who angrily asserted that the ruling made the U.S. look “weak.” Then, Sean Hannity tried to dispel Watson’s credentials by starting a conspiracy theory about President Obama and Watson smoking weed together because they were Harvard classmates. It was a head-scratcher of an argument, which hasn’t affected Watson’s stance.