A day after Hawaii mounted the first legal challenge against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, at least five other states have banded together to block the newly revised travel ban.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a motion Thursday asking U.S. District Court Judge James Robart in Seattle to rule that his temporary restraining order, which blocked key parts of the original travel ban nationwide, also applies to the new order.
The attorneys general in Massachusetts, New York and Oregon said they’re also joining the legal action, which was first brought by Washington and Minnesota three days after the original travel ban went into effect.
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin talks to reporters a day after the state became the first state in the country to file for an injunction against President Donald Trump’s new executive order on immigration.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Ferguson said the new order — which suspends all refugee resettlements and temporarily bars citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States — is too similar to the original travel ban to be enforced.
“The president, or anyone else who is subject to any injunction, cannot simply repackage it in a way and say, ‘Now, we’re clear of that injunction,'” Ferguson told reporters at a Thursday press conference. “That’s up to the court to decide — whether the new action is sufficiently different to cure the underlying defects that caused the original injunction.”
Hawaii filed its own lawsuit Wednesday, making essentially the same argument: Though the new order isn’t as restrictive as the original travel ban, it still violates “the fundamental teachings of our Constitution.”
“This second executive order is infected with the same legal problems as the first order — undermining bedrock constitutional and statutory guarantees,” Neal Katyal, a lead attorney on the lawsuit, wrote in the state’s amended complaint.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that the Trump administration is confident that the new order will stand up to legal scrutiny.
“We feel very confident with how that was crafted and the input that was given,” Spicer said.
“It is not important to me that Hawaii be the one that has the legal argument that wins.” — Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin
It’s unclear how Thursday’s developments will affect the fate of Hawaii’s lawsuit, which is set for oral arguments next week.
Five weeks ago, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu put Hawaii’s lawsuit on hold while Robart’s decision to block the travel ban played out on appeal. But, in light of the president’s new order, Watson lifted his stay Wednesday, allowing Chin to file the amended complaint, as well as a motion for a temporary restraining order.
It’s possible that Watson could decide to suspend Hawaii’s lawsuit once again — if Robart acts before Wednesday’s oral arguments in Honolulu.
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said he’d be fine with such scenario, so long as it means Robart’s temporary restraining order remains in place.
“It is not important to me that Hawaii be the one that has the legal argument that wins,” Chin told reporters at a Thursday press conference. “It’s more important that the current injunction just remains in place.”
But Chin stressed that it was important for Hawaii to take its own stand against the travel ban.
“I just did not believe that this was the type of case that we should be silent on,” Chin said. The courts “need to hear that there’s a state where ethnic diversity is the norm, where people are welcomed with aloha and respect, and I believe that that part of the argument needs to be front and center.”
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