After a bit of uncertainty regarding the prognosis of President Donald J. Trump’s second take at a proposed travel ban on six majority Muslim countries—Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia—a federal judge from the State of Hawaii has issued an immediate injunction yesterday evening mere hours before President Trump’s executive order was to go into effect. 

The proposed travel ban was a revised version of an executive order President Trump had issued earlier in the year, shortly after being sworn into the Oval Office. The initial executive action had been in effect for only a short while before a federal judge in Seattle ruled against it and brought the ban to an end. The judge took issues with provisions in the executive order that, in essence, imposed a veiled “religious test for travelers” and migrants coming to the United States. Amongst the questionable provisions was one that allowed for Christian travelers from the original seven majority Muslim countries to enter and exit the United States freely, thus explicitly discriminating only against travelers practicing the Islamic faith. 

After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Seattle judge’s ruling, President Trump removed language suggesting preferential treatment for Christian travelers, allowed for green card and visa holders from the listed nations to enter and exit the US, removed Iraq from the original list of countries, and then reissued the travel ban to take into effect midnight last night, March 16, 2017. However, much to President Trump’s expressed fury, the judiciary has once again blocked it, essentially listing the same concerns cited in the previous injunction. 

Even before Federal Judge Derrick K. Watson of Hawaii issued his ruling, attorneys general from the states of Maryland, Washington, New York, and Massachusetts had expressed intent to sue on grounds that it unfairly discriminated against Muslims and was an unprecedented overreach of executive power. Judge Watson particularly cited the case of the plaintiff that had filed the case in conjunction with the state of Hawaii as an example of how the ban would bring “concrete injuries” to Muslim nationals and “their immediate families.” The plaintiff, Doctor Ismail Elshikh, was a Muslim American citizen for ten years, emigrating from Egypt, and was married to a woman from Syria. Thus, the ban directly impacted the ability for him and his family to visit each other freely. 

In his written decision, Judge Watson also cited prejudicial statements that President Trump had made against Muslims while campaigning as "significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the Executive Order and its related predecessor." 

While this may bring an immediate sigh of relief for Muslim travelers from the nations listed in the ban, President Trump has doubled down in his support of his executive order. In a scathing rebuke of the judiciary, President Trump has expressed considerable frustration with his inability to enact (what he calls) a “watered down” version of his original ban, and has accused the judicial branch of acting beyond the scope of its constitutional powers. The White House’s argument in favor of the ban states national security issues, stating that intel received from the previous administration was the basis for the executive order. “The danger is clear, the law is clear, the need for my executive order is clear,” lamented President Trump in response to last night’s ruling, firmly vowing to bring the issue to the Supreme Court if necessary.

I predict that this case will eventually get to the U.S. Supreme Court, either by first going to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and be decided in favor of the lower court or go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court and be then decided 4/4. Such a decision would uphold the lower court’s decision, which means that the executive order would not be allowed to go into effect.