Trump DOJ Loses Again as Federal Courts Advance Travel Ban Hearings
"I thought the president said 'we'll see you in court'?"
A federal judge in Seattle has rejected a request from the Trump administration to delay a hearing on the president's travel ban, meaning the case is set to go ahead as scheduled in the next few days.
U.S. District Court Judge James Robart on Monday dismissed the call from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to delay a hearing on President Donald Trump's motive for implementing the executive order in January that banned travelers to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries and halted entry for refugees for 120 days, and for Syrian refugees indefinitely.
Robart said the issue was "time-sensitive" and should not be held up, and cited Trump's own tweets in his decision, reportedly stating, "I thought the president said 'we'll see you in court'?"
Also Monday, a separate federal court in Virginia issued a preliminary injunction against the application of the ban to Virginia residents and those with connections to state-run institutions. The injunction will stay in place until it can be fully argued in court.
U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema, of Arlington, wrote (pdf) that the ban was a "centerpiece of the president's campaign for months, and the press release calling for it was still available on his website as of the day this Memorandum Opinion is being entered."
"The 'specific sequence of events' leading to the adoption of the [executive order, or EO] bolsters the Commonwealth's argument that the EO was not motivated by rational national security concerns," she wrote, adding that the government has "not offered any evidence to identify the national security concerns that allegedly prompted this EO, or even described the process by which the president concluded that this action was necessary."
Both developments constitute yet more notable setbacks for Trump, who is already on a losing streak over the ban. Federal courts throughout the country have ruled against and halted portions of his executive order amid a flurry of civil rights lawsuits.
The order prompted widespread protests at airports throughout the country.