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Virginia judge blocks Trump travel ban

Virginia judge blocks Trump travel ban

A United States district judge in Virginia has ruled that President Donald Trump's executive order barring entry from seven countries is unconstitutional.

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.

Brinkema reportedly pointed out that Trump had called for a "Muslim ban" during the campaign and also said he would seek to help persecuted Christians by giving them priority, which gives the appearance that the order violates the First Amendment by singling out a specific religious group.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court last week refused to toss out the injunction and reinstate the travel order, contesting the Trump administration's claim of presidential authority.

U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema made Virginia the third state to stop the enforcement of Trump's executive order blocking travel to and from the countries.

"To the contrary, there is evidence that the president's senior national security officials were taken by surprise", she wrote.




Herring had asked the judge to issue the injunction nationwide, but Brinkema limited it to Virginia, saying that the nationwide restraining order in place out of the Washington state case already provides much of the relief Virginia is seeking.

"I saw this unlawful, unconstitutional and un-American ban for what it is, and I'm glad the court did too", Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said after the ruling.

Virginia based its arguments on the harms the state would suffer if the travel ban were allowed to go forward.

"Maximum power does not mean absolute power", she wrote.

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. Trump has raised the possibility that he will issue a new executive order to replace the one being challenged in court.

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