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The Hawaii judge who blocked President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on immigration has rejected a request by the Trump administration to essentially limit the scope of his ruling.
In a motion filed Friday, Justice Department lawyers asked Watson to “clarify” that his ruling wasn’t meant to apply to one provision that suspends refugee resettlements, as well as several subsections of another provision that temporarily halts the issuance of new visas to citizens of six Muslim-majority countries.
“Many of the provisions in those sections were not addressed in the brief that plaintiffs filed in support of their (temporary restraining order) motion,” the lawyers wrote. “It is therefore unclear whether the court intended its injunction to extend to all of those provisions.”
On Saturday, the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General opposed the request, arguing that Watson’s ruling — which found “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus” behind the revised order — was issued “without qualification.”
“The government asserts that it is seeking ‘clarification’ of the existing (temporary restraining order) but then requests that the court radically alter the order by cutting its scope in half and then carving away at the remainder,” Neal Katyal, a lead attorney on the lawsuit, wrote. “That plainly is not a ‘clarification.'”
Katyal also denied that the state failed to fully challenge the two provisions.
“Plaintiffs stated outright that their establishment clause arguments applied to both” provisions, Katyal wrote.
In a terse, five-sentence ruling issued Sunday, Watson sided with the state, saying that “there is nothing unclear about the scope of the court’s order.”
Watson then quoted a line from his own ruling: “Defendants … are hereby enjoined from enforcing or implementing sections 2 and 6 of the executive order across the nation.”
“The federal defendants’ motion is DENIED,” Watson wrote.
Waton’s ruling paves the way for the Trump administration to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected a bid to reinstate the original travel ban that had been block by a federal judge in Seattle.