By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The state of Hawaii said it will ask a federal court on Wednesday to stop an emergency stop to President Donald Trump‘s new executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries, becoming the first state to challenge the prohibition in court.
In a court filing Tuesday, Hawaii said it would seek a temporary restraining order against the new travel ban. Hawaii’s lawsuit against the original executive order was suspended.
The Trump administration this week issued the new executive order that supplanted an earlier, broader one that had been challenged in court by several states other than Hawaii.
The new order is much tighter than the first one issued in January. It maintains a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, but excludes Iraq and applies the restriction only to new visa applicants.
“Without a doubt, the new executive order covers fewer people than the old one,” Neal Katyal, one of Hawaii’s top attorneys, said in an interview with CNN. He said the new travel ban still “suffers from the same constitutional and legal flaws.”
“We are confident that the president’s actions are legal to protect the national security of our country,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
In a joint filing, Hawaii and the United States government requested oral arguments in the case that will take place on March 15, one day before the new travel order takes effect.
Separately, in a case brought by Washington state against Trump’s first travel order, the Justice Department said Tuesday it would voluntarily dismiss its own appeal of a Seattle federal court ruling that had suspended the order.
The state of Washington did not object to the administration’s request to end its appeal, according to the filing.
Immigration advocates said the new ban still discriminates against Muslims and does not address some of their concerns with the previous directive. Legal experts said the new ban would be harder to challenge because it affects fewer people living in the United States and allows more exemptions to protect them.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Monday his office was evaluating whether to challenge the new order and likely make a decision this week.
Last month, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had blocked Trump’s first order, saying that Washington state could likely show that it violated constitutional protections.
That appeals court ruling has not been withdrawn and its legal reasoning may still be cited as precedent in future cases, Washington attorney general spokesman Peter Lavallee said Tuesday.
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