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US judge blocks new Donald Trump executive order banning nationals for 6 muslim-majority countries

By The Mirror | Thursday, Mar 16th 2017 at 09:38

Donald Trump has slammed a Hawaii judge's decision to issue an emergency halt on his revised travel ban as an example of "unprecedented judicial overreach."

The President's plan to enforce a travel ban against six Muslim-majority nations lay in tatters last night after it was placed on hold just hours before it was due to begin.

It was the second time the executive order was thwarted by the US courts after his first in January sparked widespread protests at airports across America.

"This is in the opinion of many an unprecedented judicial overreach," Trump told a rally in Nashville, Tennessee.

Trump said "this ruling makes us look weak" and vowed take case "as far as it needs to go" including to the US Supreme Court.

US District Judge Derrick Watson sitting in Hawaii put an emergency halt on Trump's revised travel ban that placed temporary entry restrictions on refugees and travellers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Iraq was removed from the original order after the President bowed to pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider, given the country’s vital role in fighting the Islamic State group.

The new ban, which is applied across all 50 states, was set to go into effect at 12.01am tomorrow but as immigration officials geared up for it to begin, it was frozen.

Watson said the state of Hawaii showed a strong likelihood of success in its claims that the order violates the establishment clause of the US Constitution, which prevents religious discrimination.

Critics of the ban argued it was discriminatory against Muslims.

Watson was the second of three judges to hear arguments today on whether to place Trump's orders on hold.

A federal judge in Maryland said he also could rule before day’s end after a morning hearing, and the same federal judge in Washington state who suspended Trump’s first travel ban was set to hear arguments later.

The hearing in Hawaii came in response to a lawsuit filed by the state itself.

Lawyers claimed the new travel ban, much like the old, violated the First Amendment because it is essentially a Muslim ban, hurts the ability of state businesses and universities to recruit top talent and damages the state’s robust tourism industry.

Justice Department lawyers argued that the president was well within his rights to impose the ban and that those challenging it had raised only speculative concerns.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer, asked about the judge's order, did not comment.

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