Hawaii Says Proof That Trump’s Hands Aren’t Tied Is Proved By His Laptop Ban

The fact that President Donald Trump’s control of immigration and national security isn’t hampered by the state’s lawsuit over his travel ban is proved by the new U.S. government rules prohibiting the use of laptops and other electronic gadgets on flights from eight Muslim-majority nations, says Hawaii’s attorney general.

In the manner that had been triggered by Trump’s March 6 executive order against travellers from six Muslim-majority countries, this new ban on large electronic devices, announced Tuesday, failed to trigger widespread condemnation and litigation.

The travel ban has a discriminatory intent, claim several states citing Trump’s comments about Muslims on the campaign trail.

Any claim that Trump’s “hands are tied” by litigation seeking to overturn the travel ban on the grounds that it discriminates against Islam are belied by the easy implementation of the laptop policy, said Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin.

“Policies like that one, justified with respect to a particular (even if unspecified) new threat, implemented without accompanying statements of animus towards Islam, and in harmony with Congressional policies and the policies of our allies, raise no constitutional concerns,” Neal Katyal, a lawyer for Hawaii, said in the filing.

While a judge in Virginia on Friday declined to put any ban on Trump’s travel ban, Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland barred enforcement of the travel ban. Trump was led to issue what he called a “watered down” version this month after an earlier travel ban signed in January was blocked by a federal appeals court.

The second travel ban clarified that citizens of those nations who had already received visas could enter and removed Iraq from the list of affected countries. The reasons for the ban are also spelled out more clearly in the new directive.

Hawaii hasn’t offered sufficient evidence to extend its temporary restraining order against the ban into a longer-lasting preliminary injunction, The U.S. Justice Department said in a court filing Friday. In its argument, the favorable ruling by the Virginia federal judge was also cited by the administration.

While highlighting Friday’s ruling that the president’s revised travel order appears to fall within the president’s authority, the government points to a Maryland district court’s decision to ban only one section of the 15-page travel ban in its filing.

While the Justice Department has asked that the ban be limited to the 90-day travel ban affecting the six mostly Muslim countries, if the court does issue a preliminary injunction, the next step in permanently halting the order. The government said that a 120-day ban on refugee admissions should be allowed to stay in place.

The case is State of Hawaii v. Donald J. Trump, 17-cv-00050, U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (Honolulu)

(Adapted from Bloomberg)

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