Revised travel ban gets day in court: Will it be found constitutional?

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, joined in his lawsuit by heavily Democratic California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and OR, asked for a hearing with a federal judge in Seattle before the administration plans to implement the ban Thursday on new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim nations.

A group of U.S. states run by Democrats on Monday stepped up the pressure in federal court for the suspension of Republican President Donald Trump's amended travel ban, if possible before it takes effect Thursday.

The letter was also sent to Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security chief John Kelly and Acting Director of National Intelligence Michael Dempsey. It denies USA entry to all refugees for 120 days and halts for 90 days the granting of visas to nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The proposed order “undermines Californias commitment to diversity and nondiscrimination, ” the filing said.

The State of Hawaii was the first to file, arguing that the new E.O. has the same legal infirmities as the original. Justice Department attorneys are also phoning in for the hearing.

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The ban differs from Trump's broader January 27 order in that it no longer applies to people from Iraq and does not exclude people who have visas or legal permanent US residency.

Robart said there would be no hearing before Wednesday and asked the Justice Department for a response to Ferguson's motion.

An injunction placed on the first order by a federal judge in Washington state applied to the section on refugees of a "minority religion" and three other sections of the order. Attorneys for the state argue that new executive order remains discriminatory and harms the economy, and have asked a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order blocking several provisions of the new order.

The new order, issued March 6, prohibits individuals from six countries if they lack valid US visas.

What the judges did say is that it's "well established" that statements and context beyond the text of the order itself, which does not specifically mention Muslims, "may be considered in evaluating" the religious discrimination claims.

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Hawaii has also filed its own, separate complaint against the order.

Should the federal courts decline to extend the current restraining order, and in turn allow the new ban to kick in at midnight, all eyes will swing to the main USA arrivals ports, notably Dulles [in Washington, D.C.], JFK in New York, LAX in Los Angeles and O'Hare in Chicago.

The Trump administration's decision to issue a revised EO represents a concession of the first order's legal indefensibility.

The order also poses new concerns, including by requiring relevant federal agencies to collect and publish information about convictions of terrorism-related offenses, government charges of terrorism, and gender-based violence against women committed by foreign nationals, while containing no corresponding publication requirement for USA citizens. Indeed, the Trump administration could seek to use this information to lay the groundwork for further bans or restrictions on immigration.

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