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Virginia Judge Rules Trump's Travel Ban Is Based on Religious Bias

15 February 2017

A federal judge in Virginia has issued a preliminary injunction to halt enforcement President Trump's travel ban, according to reports, the latest setback against the president's executive order. "This preliminary injunction will protect Virginians while our case is pending, and the opinion explaining it lays out in stunning detail the extent to which the Court finds this order to likely violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution".

Brinkema's ruling also differs from the previous two because it stops enforcement of the order based on a violation of the First Amendment - that it is a ban aimed specifically at Muslims - based on Trump's words on the campaign trail and since taking office.

President Donald Trump's travel ban has been enjoined in Virginia.

"Defendants have not denied any of these statements or produced any evidence, beyond the text of the EO itself, to support their contention that the EO was primarily motivated by national security concerns", Brinkema wrote in her opinion.

She also criticised the president's statements that persecuted Christians may be permitted entry despite the ban, which she said amounts to a religious test. Giuliani, who advised the Trump campaign, said Trump called him and asked how to carry out a "Muslim ban" "legally".

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Brinkema said that the Trump administration didn't produce a "scintilla of evidence" to justify the ban.

"Maximum power does not mean absolute power", Brinkema wrote of the president's claim of statutory authority for the order under federal law. "Every presidential action must still comply with the limits set by Congress' delegation of power and the constraints of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights".

The temporary injunction applies only to residents of Virginia and faculties of state universities who may have been affected by the new travel restrictions.

The commonwealth joined the pre-existing Aziz v. Trump case, which centered on two Yemeni green card holders denied entry to the USA and apparently coerced into signing away their green cards at Dulles International Airport.

Virginia Judge Rules Trump's Travel Ban Is Based on Religious Bias