Virginia Judge Grants Injunction Barring Travel Ban In That State

As the Trump administration grapples with the Ninth Circuit's refusal to reinstate the President's travel ban, a federal judge across the country dealt another significant blow to the executive order in Virginia late Monday, writing in her opinion: "Maximum power does not mean absolute power".

Judge Leonie Brinkema issued a preliminary injunction, asserting that the campaign vow to institute a "Muslim ban" violated the First Amendment.

The judge declined to issue her injunction on nationwide basis "to avoid any claim that" it is "defective because of overbreadth".

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who argued the case against the ban, praised the judge's decision saying "the overwhelming evidence shows that this ban was conceived in religious bigotry".

Brinkema's opinion - the nation's first preliminary injunction against the president's action - comes four days after a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling enjoining enforcement of the executive order.

In her 22-page ruling, Brinkema writes that Trump's promises during the campaign to implement what came to be known as a "Muslim ban" provide evidence that the current executive order unconstitutionally targets Muslims.

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She also referenced a Fox News interview in which former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Trump adviser, said that the president wants a "Muslim ban" and that he had been instructed by Mr Trump to put together a commission to determine "the right way to do it legally".

The injunction, in place until a trial is held on the order's constitutionality, bars the administration from enforcing the ban in the commonwealth.

Virginia's lawsuit also does not challenge the portion of the executive order directed at refugees. The state has said, for instance, that 1,000 students at its universities and dozens of university staff members and professors could be affected by the ban.

The Trump administration has received a series of court rulings that halted some or all of the travel ban signed by the president on January 27.

She said the president's executive authority is still limited by the Constitution.

  • Alfonso Moody