Hours after hearing arguments from both sides, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson sided with the state of Hawaii Wednesday and granted a motion turning the original temporary restraining order against Trump’s ban into a nationwide preliminary injunction, as requested by Hawaii’s Department of the Attorney General on March 21.
The preliminary injunction will stay in effect as long as Hawaii’s lawsuit against the Trump administration is being resolved, according to BuzzFeed News. The original order, issued on March 15, was due to expire on Wednesday.
“Upon careful consideration of the totality of the circumstances ... the Court reaffirms its prior finding that the balance of equities and public interest weigh in favor of maintaining the status quo,” Watson wrote in his 24-page ruling.
Hawaii’s attorneys “have shown a strong likelihood of succeeding on their claim that the Executive Order violates First Amendment rights under the Constitution,” he added.
During the hearing held Wednesday morning, the Trump administration requested to narrow the broad scope of the injunction so that it only covers the part of the executive order that suspends new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries, The Associated Press reported. Watson rejected the administration’s argument that a freeze on the federal refugee program would not impact on tourism or education in Hawaii.
Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin maintained that Trump’s revised executive order was discriminatory against Muslims, arguing that the president’s “religious animus taints the entire policy,” according to the Honolulu Civil Beat.
Chin said it’s “as if there’s a flashing neon sign behind them saying ‘Muslim ban, Muslim ban,’” that no one in the administration bothered to turn off.
“We cannot fault the president for being politically incorrect, but we do fault him for being constitutionally incorrect,” he added.
Hawaii was the first state to file a lawsuit against Trump’s second attempt at a travel ban ― one that the president had called a “watered-down version of the first order.”
In his original ruling, Judge Watson said that section of the new executive order likely violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which forbids the government from disfavoring certain religions over others.
Chin said in a statement that the latest ruling was “an important affirmation of the values of religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution’s First Amendment.
“With a preliminary injunction in place, people in Hawaii with family in the six affected Muslim-majority countries — as well as Hawaii students, travelers, and refugees across the world — face less uncertainty,” he said. “While we understand that the President may appeal, we believe the court’s well-reasoned decision will be affirmed.”
You can read the judge’s ruling below: