Americans United And Its Allies Just Struck Another Courtroom Blow Against Trump’s Muslim Ban

A federal court in Washington, D.C., has just issued its first ruling in our lawsuit against President Donald J. Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0.

U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan agreed with us that the president’s executive order likely violates the First Amendment, although she declined to issue a preliminary injunction (which would bar the government from enforcing the ban while the case continues). Because two other district courts have already issued nationwide injunctions blocking the ban, Judge Chutkan decided that an additional preliminary injunction is not currently necessary. But she appears to be ready to issue an injunction if the appeals courts lift the injunctions on the ban.

In short, this order is one more declaration that Muslim Ban 2.0 is constitutionally suspect.

Trump's Muslim ban loses in court -- again.

The order is clear: Trump’s six-country Muslim ban, as well as his refugee ban, are likely illegal. Those were the core claims raised in UMAA v. Trump, the lawsuit that we filed along with Muslim Advocates, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, and in Pars Equality Center v. Trump, another lawsuit before Judge Chutkan, which was brought by several Iranian-American organizations. We argued on April 21 that the ban violates the Constitution because it singles out members of one faith for discriminatory treatment. Judge Chutkan seems to agree.

However, Judge Chutkan did not address our argument that the executive order’s heightened vetting procedures for nationals of Iraq is – to quote the president – just a “watered-down version” of the initial total ban on Iraqis. Continuing to single out Iraqis for extreme vetting is part and parcel of the anti-Muslim animus that pervades the entire executive order, and unfortunately this part of the executive order now remains in place.

Although the court is declining to issue – at least for now – the preliminary injunction that we sought against the Muslim ban, the preliminary injunctions already issued by federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland ensure that the ban remains blocked.

And Judge Chutkan is “prepared to issue a ruling without delay” if those injunctions are lifted by the U.S. 4th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals. (The 4th Circuit heard argument on the ban this past Monday, and the argument before the 9th Circuit will be streamed live this coming Monday. AU submitted friend-of-the-court briefs in both appeals.)

Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0 will thus continue to remain on hold for the foreseeable future – and that’s what’s most important.

You can follow all of our work fighting Trump’s Muslim ban here.