The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Shayan Modarres,

BREAKING: U.S. District Court Judge "Inclined to Agree" That Muslim Ban Unconstitutional

 NIAC Says Stayed Decision is Strong Line of Defense in Case Courts Overturn Injunction on President Trump’s Muslim Ban

Earlier today, Judge Tanya Sue Chutkan a judge at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order staying the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) motion for a nationwide freeze on President Trump's Muslim travel ban, indicating that she is "inclined to agree with Plaintiffs that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims with respect to Sections 2 and 6 of the Second Executive Order."

"Because both existing preliminary injunctions are actively being considered on appeal by the Fourth and Ninth Circuits this month and the continued existence of these injunctions will directly impact this court's analysis, the court finds that the most appropriate course of action is to temporarily stay resolution of the Plaintiffs' motions pending the outcome of the current appeals" added Judge Chutkan in her order. "... in the event that both [the Ninth Circuit and Fourth Circuit] existing injunctions are overturned, this court is prepared to issue a ruling without delay."

Shayan Modarres, National Iranian American Council's Legal Counsel, issued the following statement in response to Judge Chutkan's order:

"Should the Fourth and Ninth Circuits decide on appeal to overturn the decision of the respective lower courts and allow the Muslim ban to take effect, Judge Chutkan at the U.S. District Court in DC will be in the best position to step in and impose another freeze blocking enforcement of the Muslim ban as the case will undoubtedly be appealed to the Supreme Court.

"We are encouraged that Judge Chutkan is 'inclined to agree' with us that Trump's Muslim ban is unconstitutional, and while we hope that the Fourth and Ninth Circuit courts will continue to block the ban, we are prepared to take immediate action if the injunction is lifted."

Last month, The legal team representing the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and co-plaintiffs--IABA, PAAIA, and Pars Equality Center--presented live testimony in support of their motion for preliminary injunction, the first time any court hearing challenges of the Muslim ban heard live testimony from any plaintiff. Because of the detailed declarations from the four Iranian-American organizations and individual plaintiffs, in addition to the live testimony, the Iranian-American plaintiffs have developed the most robust factual record in the country.

In March, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide injunction blocking Section 2 - barring entry from six Muslim-majority countries, including Iran - and Section 6 - suspending the refugee admission program - of the executive order. The same day, a federal judge in Maryland issued a second, albeit narrower, nationwide injunction. In a rather unusual move earlier this week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc - or as the full court - heard oral argument as they consider whether to overturn the lower court decision and allow the executive order to be enforced. Oral argument will be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 15.

The decision from the Fourth Circuit is expected in the coming weeks, with the Ninth Circuit decision likely following shortly thereafter.

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 2002 to give voice to the Iranian-American community. From being the trusted voice on U.S.- Iran relations, to pushing forth legislation that protects individuals of Iranian heritage from systematic discrimination, to celebrating our cultural heritage, NIAC creates a lasting impact in the lives of the members of our community.

(202) 386-6325