WASHINGTON (CBSMiami/AP) – Stung by two federal court judges who have struck down his latest travel ban, President Donald Trump has fired back.
On Wednesday Judge Derrick Watson issued a restraining order just hours before the revised executive order was set to take effect. The ban would have barred new visas from being issued to travelers from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days while the administration reviewed vetting procedures.
At a campaign-style rally in Nashville on Wednesday, Trump pulled no punches in attacking Judge Watson’s decision.
“This is in the opinion of many an unprecedented judicial overreach,” Trump told a supportive crowd. “We’re talking about the safety of our nation, this ruling makes us look weak. The danger is clear. The law is clear. The need for my executive order is clear.”
“You don’t think this was done by a judge for political reasons, do you?? No!!?,” he added.
Trump said his administration would appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court. He even suggested that the White House re-examine its original travel ban that was also shot down in court.
“I think we oughta go back to the first one and go all the way,” said Trump.
The original executive order, which opponents termed a blatant ‘Muslin ban’, was struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Trump administration then revised it. They removed Iraq from the list of restricted countries, gave exemptions to visa holders and eliminated the language which prioritized Christian immigrants.
Judge Watson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, blocked the revised ban, citing past commentary from Trump and his inner circle in his 43-page opinion.
Watson also wrote, referring to a statement Trump issued as a candidate, “For instance, there is nothing ‘veiled’ about this press release: ‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.'”
Watson also criticized what he called the “illogic” of the government’s arguments and cited “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus” behind the travel ban.
He noted that while courts should not examine the “veiled psyche” and “secret motives” of government decision-makers, “the remarkable facts at issue here require no such impermissible inquiry.”
Trump’s revised travel ban was dealt another legal setback Thursday morning when a federal judge in Maryland also rejected it.
U.S. Judge Theodore Chuang made the ruling in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups representing immigrants, refugees, and their families. The groups argued that the underlying rationale of the ban was to discriminate against Muslims, making it unconstitutional.
Chuang, who was appointed by then-President Barack Obama, called Trump’s own statements about intentions to impose a Muslim ban “highly relevant.” Trump’s second executive order does include changes from the first order, Chuang noted, such as the removal of a preference for religious minorities in the refugee process.
“Despite these changes, the history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban,” he said.
The hearings in Maryland and Hawaii were two of three heard in federal courts around the country. U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who blocked the initial travel ban last month, did not immediately rule on a request from an immigrant-rights group to block the revised version.
In all, more than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)