In response to mounting legal challenges, President Donald Trump has announced that he will rescind his now-stalledtravel ban and replace it with a new executive order “sometime next week.”
“We will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people,” Trump told reporters at a press conference Thursday. “We have some of the best lawyers in the country working on it.”
But Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin, who filed the state’s lawsuit against the Trump administration two weeks ago, said he’s willing to challenge the new order, if necessary, as well. He issued a statement to Civil Beat:
The president should just issue executive orders that do not violate the Constitution. If a new order still discriminates against persons based upon national origin, violates our nation’s freedom of religion or otherwise violates the Constitution, the State of Hawaii and its people must object to it.
Trump’s announcement came a week after a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate key parts of his Jan. 27 order, which was blocked by a temporary restraining order issued by a federal judge in Seattle.
In a motion filed to the 9th Circuit on Thursday, Justice Department lawyers argue that the panel’s decision was riddled with errors, but a rehearing of its decision by a full, 11-judge panel won’t be necessary, in light of the forthcoming order.
“The government respectfully submits that the most appropriate course would be for the court to hold its consideration of the case until the president issues the new order and then vacate the panel’s preliminary decision,” the lawyers wrote.
The arrangement, the lawyers say, will allow Trump to “clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation.”
But the lawyers offer few specifics on what the new order will look like — other than to say that it will “eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns.”
At the press conference, Trump was similarly vague, saying only that the new order will be “very much tailored to what I consider a very bad decision, but we can tailor it to get, in some ways, more.”
Hawaii Suit Still On Hold
It’s unclear whether rescinding of Trump’s order will result in quick dismissal of the more than two dozen pending lawsuits across the country — including Hawaii’s.
Two weeks ago, Chin filed the state’s lawsuit against Trump’s order, alleging that it was “unauthorized by, and contrary to, the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
Chin argued that Hawaii’s reliance on tourism, as well as its diverse population and unique geography, made the islands particularly vulnerable to the effects of Trump’s order.
But U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson put Hawaii’s lawsuit on hold last week, as long as the Seattle judge’s temporary restraining order is in effect.
Joshua Wisch, special assistant to Chin, said the rescinding of Trump’s order won’t necessarily render Hawaii’s lawsuit moot.
The fate of Hawaii’s lawsuit, Wisch said, depends on “a variety of factors including if the current executive order is rescinded at all and whether the new executive order (if any) is similar, as a legal matter, to the existing one.”
Wisch said filing a new lawsuit or amending the current one are among the options that are available to the state — but added: “Until we know what actions the president takes next, we decline to speculate on our actions in response.”
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