DC Judge Takes Wait-and-See Tack on Travel Ban Challenge

WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge on Thursday decided to hold off – for now – on becoming the third to block President Donald Trump’s revised executive order banning new visas and immigration from six Muslim-majority countries.

In a 2-page order, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said a request for preliminary injunction by Iranian-American and Muslim groups requires proof of imminent, certain and irreparable harm.

The nationwide injunctions of the executive order issued by two other federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii on March 15 “temporarily casts uncertainty” on whether the plaintiffs in the case will suffer such harm, Chutkan wrote.

She noted, however, that they are likely to succeed on the merits and opted to stay their request until two federal appellate courts issue decisions on the government’s appeal of the two existing injunctions.

On Monday, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, heard arguments in the Maryland case, and a federal appeals court in San Francisco will weigh the Hawaii injunction next week.

“In the event that both existing injunctions are overturned, this court is prepared to issue a ruling without delay,” Chutkan wrote.

Chutkan heard testimony last month in a lawsuit from Pars Equality Center, the Iranian American Bar Association, the National Iranian American Council, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans and several Iranian individuals.

The lawsuit was combined with another challenge from the Universal Muslim Association of America, the largest organization of American Shi’a Muslims.

They claim anti-Muslim animus belied the national security justifications proffered by the administration, which they claimed harmed students, families and business travelers.

The Justice Department had argued that travelers from the targeted countries pose a terror risk and the courts should not weigh in on national security matters.

 

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