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Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin, right, arrives at the U.S. District Court Ninth Circuit to present his arguments after filing an amended lawsuit against President Donald Trump's new travel ban in Honolulu last week. (REUTERS/Hugh Gentry/File Photo)

Hawaii judge rejects Trump administration request to revise travel ban ruling


The Hawaii judge who brought a national halt to President Donald Trump's new travel ban last week has rejected the government's request to limit his ruling.

In a short filing in his Honolulu court on Sunday, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson told federal lawyers who protested against the broad scope of his ruling that "there is nothing unclear" about his order against the ban.

The Department of Justice had filed a motion late Friday asking Watson to scale back his decision that found the travel ban to discriminate against Muslims to match a narrower ruling against it issued by a federal court in Maryland.

On Wednesday, Watson ordered a stop to Trump's 90-day ban on travel into the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day pause on refugee resettlement from any country. The judge also stopped the government's attempt to cap refugee resettlement and the compiling of a series of government studies and reports on how refugees and foreign visitors to the U.S. are vetted.

In their Friday motion, government lawyers had asked Watson to revise his ruling to say it did not apply to the refugee ban or to the government studies and reports. Federal lawyers did not abandon their argument that Trump's executive order is constitutional but said the judge should limit his ruling to the six-country ban.

"The motion, in other words, asks the court to make a distinction that the federal defendants' previous briefs and arguments never did. As important, there is nothing unclear about the scope of the court's order. ... The federal defendants' motion is denied," Watson wrote on Sunday.

If Watson had granted the request, the Hawaii ruling would have largely matched a Maryland federal court order against the travel ban that was issued on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang. The Maryland judge declined to rule against the pause and cap on refugees.

The Department of Justice has appealed Chuang's decision to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. It could also appeal last week's Hawaii ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The original travel ban, signed Jan. 27, was blocked in federal district courts and the 9th Circuit. The new ban, signed March 6 and scheduled to go into effect March 16, was modified in an attempt to pass court muster.

Changes in the new version included deleting Iraq from the list of countries whose travelers would be blocked and removing preferential treatment of refugees who were religious minorities.


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Mike Houst said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 8:32 am

Judge needs to be impeached. He care more for foreigners than he does for the citizens and legal residents of this country.

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MICHAEL LANE said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 9:00 am

Just because Judge Watson ruled on the merits of the case in a way that you disagree does not mean he need to be impeached. He determined that there is a strong chance for the plaintiffs to prevail because the action (EO) violates our First Amendment establishment clause. It was not made on the rights, or lack of, of those who are not within our jurisdiction. The EO would have been permitted to stand had president Trump not stated, several times, he wanted to ban Muslims. BTW Watson was not the only judge to arrive at that determination.

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Greg Barrett said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 11:46 am

If it looks like a Duck...

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JAMES E FIEST said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm

That Motion to Limit was dead on arrival, if all that was in it was what was reported on. If it were me, I would give up on these ridiculous temporary travel bans and just tighten up the vetting "like nobody's business." He can do that right now.

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Ed Holdgate said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Yawn, the pushback and hard-line Liberal stance from the Liberal judges was so tediously predictable. That's why right after Trump was victorious I suggested that Trump get SCOTUS refilled ASAP, since all the big conflicts over everything else he attempts would be challenged by the inflamed Lefty Losers, and soon escalate right to SCOTUS anyhow.

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David McConville said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 1:36 pm

The ruling is ludicrous on its face; not citing any laws or precedents to justify it, and using campaign statements, not the Executive Order itself, to justify it. A paralegal would get fired for **** work.

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JAMES E FIEST said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 1:53 pm

It's called the "parole evidence rule." McConville. Why do you think they have hearings on these types of issues? Just to give the attorneys something to do?

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JAMES E FIEST said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Let's see. He has the Courts in Washington State and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, who the President insulted, ruling on his first Order. He has the District Court in Maryland working on the second Order, and that will be appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. And now he has the District Court in Hawaii telling the DoJ lawyers that he doesn't care what the District Court in Maryland based its ruling on. And the Supreme Court, well who knows how it will rule on these temporary travel bans.

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David McConville said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm

More "Progressive" misdirection, or misunderstanding. "Parole evidence rule"is prevalent in contract law, but has no precedent in Federal law, and directives. Shame on you for trying to fool the public like all the other so called "Progressives."

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PAUL LUNDWALL said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 2:26 pm

In 2017 there were 456 Islamic attacks in 37 countries, in which 3104 people were killed and 3794 injured. Hawaii does not have one clue. They want open arms to muslims without background or vetting.

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David McConville said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Paul you bring up a good point, but the Judge is not just ignorant, he is utterly biased. The state and the plaintiff have no standing, which simply means the judge had no reason to hear the case in the first place.

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David Alton said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Watson did not rule on the merits of the case but rather his political opinion. Impeachment is in line and until it is straighten out, every refugee and immigrant should be placed in Hawaii.

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BURT JANZ said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Without humor, I make the following suggestion: until the "extreme vetting" rules are in place and vetting is considered secure, resettle *ALL* new Syrian (and other Middle Eastern) refugees in the states of the judges who have put a "stay" on the EO. Hawaii and Washington (State) should be first on the list, followed by Maryland and then California (San Francisco County). === Then, if (more probably, *when*) the negative effects of resettling become clear (financial support, need for special schooling, and other non-law-enforcement issues), those effects will fall directly on those who support these policies. === It's called "karma": be careful what you wish for... (NO, I do not expect violations of law - but local budgets are balanced for existing residents, not an unknown number of new residents who will not be able to contribute to the tax base. It is tacitly unfair for elected leaders to tell local residents that they *MUST* accept resettlement of refugees without the approval of the residents.)

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PAUL LUNDWALL said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Burt we could use Hawaii as a new Ellis Island where all could stay until properly vetted.

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JAMES E FIEST said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Parole evidence is used in contract law to protect the four corners of the document. But the principle is the same in this case. The difference being that the Judge is not limited by the "four corners" of the Orders in making his decision. "However, there is one important exception - if a term of the contract is ambiguous, parol evidence is permitted to determine how the ambiguity is resolved. "

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JAMES E FIEST said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Judge Watson's Order was a TRO. He didn't have to "rule on the merits." That's what will happen in the next hearing. And his decision on standing is the same as that used by the Judge in Washington that the 9th Circuit Panel upheld.

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JAMES E FIEST said Monday, March 20, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Mr. Janz, you appear to make the assumption that refugees do not want to work. What do you base that on? And if they are permitted to work, won't they end up paying taxes and, thereby, helping to the communities they live in?

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MICHAEL LANE said Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 7:38 am

McConville I counted 25 citations of case histories, including Lemon. The use of statements from the campaign and later was a demonstration of the violation of the Lemon Test. If you had read the ruling you would know that Judge Watson use case citations to show both the state and plaintiff had standing. He used the Lemon Test to determine there was a violation of the Establishment Clause. Had Trump never said, several times showing intent, he wanted to ban Muslims the first EO would have never been challenged. Finally Judge Watson did rule on the merits of the suit writing: "Nationwide relief is appropriate in light of the likelihood of success on the Establishment Clause claim."

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