A Justice Department motion filed Friday asks U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson to clarify that the temporary restraining order only applies to the president's temporary ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries.
The U.S. Supreme Court is now split 4-4 between liberals and conservatives, with Trump's pick for the high court - appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch - still awaiting confirmation.
Hawaii attorney general Douglas Chin, left, along with Hawaii Gov. David Ige, speaks at a press conference Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Honolulu. The administration denies it is a Muslim ban, and says the order aims to prevent terrorism by suspending visitors from terror-prone countries where screening of individuals seeking USA visas may not be effective.
Two American judges have halted Donald Trump's revised travel ban on citizens of six Muslim- majority nations, stating that his own comments suggested religious bias, in a blow to the US President who has vowed to take the legal battle all the way up to the Supreme Court. "The President's Executive Order falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our Nation's security, and the Department will continue to defend this Executive Order in the courts", DOJ said in a statement Wednesday night.
Chuang wrote that he "should not, and will not, second-guess the conclusion that national security interests would be served by the travel ban", but if the national security rationale was secondary to an attempt to disfavor a particular religion, he had no choice but to block the executive order. He said he would rule on that request later.
Watson's ruling on Wednesday prevented core provisions of the executive order, affecting refugees and citizens of the six predominantly Muslim countries, from going into effect the next day.
"Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude, as does the court for purposes of the instant Motion for TRO, that the stated secular goal of the Executive Order is, at the very least, "secondary to a religious objective" of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims", he added.
"These alleged injuries have already occurred and will continue to occur once the executive order is implemented and enforced the injuries are not contingent ones", he wrote. While the ban does not mention Muslims, the courts have accepted arguments that Trump's statements while he was running for president last year-that he would open his White House term with a ban on Muslim arrivals-effectively defined his approach.
Kim Jong-Nam's body returned to North Korea as suspects released
Those bans have now been lifted, and the nine Malaysians held in North Korea have now returned home. The swap agreement brings to an end a diplomatic standoff that has lasted almost seven weeks.
Imposed on January 27, the travel ban also was blocked by a federal judge.
The state of Hawaii also argued the ban would harm its tourism industry, as well as its ability to recruit foreign students and workers. Chuang granted a preliminary injunction nationwide basis.
The hearings in Maryland and Hawaii were two of three held Wednesday in federal courts around the country.
Trump announced his plan via a press release calling for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims" entering the U.S.in late 2015.
The Hawaii ruling also halted a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee admissions program.
USA government begins its legal battle to reinstate immigration order courts ruled discriminated against Muslims. If the Justice Department had appealed the Hawaii order, the case would have gone to the same San Francisco-based appeals court that rejected an earlier version of the travel ban.
Watson 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 also 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".