A second federal judge has blocked the Trump administration's latest travel ban hours before it was set to take full effect.
Watson blocked the administration from enforcing the ban against any of the six majority-Muslim countries on the current list: Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
Watson's order blocks all the restrictions except immigrants from Venezuelan and North Korea.
USA Today reported that Watson, who issued a nationwide block against the travel ban, said the measure was "simultaneously overbroad and underinclusive" because it targets entire countries rather than unsafe individuals.
In a statement, the White House said it is confident "the Judiciary will uphold the president's lawful and necessary action".
But that doesn't mean the Trump administration is caught in an endless cycle of judicial smackdowns, in which they keep coming up with new versions of the travel ban that keep getting struck down in court. Unlike the Hawaii ruling, however, the decision by the Maryland judge is limited to individuals without bona fide connection to the United States.
As with his previous two attempts to bar travelers from certain predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States, his Travel Ban 3.0 has run into an immediate buzz saw in the courts. He said, "Professional athletes mirror the federal government in this respect: they operate within a set of rules, and when one among them forsakes those rules in favor of his own, problems ensue".
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One thing remains clear through the disorienting cloud of litigation surrounding the president's embattled attempts to fulfill a campaign promise of banning Muslims: nothing is preventing President Trump from trying new versions of his Muslim ban over and over again until he achieves a paradoxically constitutional Muslim ban.
The Justices reinstated the ban, but carved out an exemption for people with a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S.
Ultimately, though, the federal government probably does have a better chance of getting a victory on this version of the travel ban than it ever has before.
The president could ask the Supreme Court to lift the injunctions pending appeals, which if successful would allow the travel ban to take effect while the courts review its merits, said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond School of Law in Virginia. The courts have previously examined his campaign statements calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S.as evidence that his travel ban was created to discriminate against Muslims rather than protect the nation.
But the first and second versions of the travel ban were always created to be temporary, while the federal government examined countries' cooperation with United States attempts to vet immigrants and visa holders.
It appears that the other federal judge taking up the ban right now - Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland - is accordingly more skeptical of the arguments that this is just a "Muslim ban" in sheep's clothing.
Despite the White House's endeavors, however, Judge Watson found few tangible differences between the second and third drafts of the ban.
Both judges did find that the challengers to the third order were likely to win their claim that the third version exceeded presidential power under federal immigration laws. The Trump administration is likely to appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and from there it could head to the Supreme Court. But as familiar as this defeat is for the Trump administration, they might have reason to be optimistic.