Fresh from one high-profile legal victory, Washington state on Thursday challenged President Donald Trump’s newly revised executive order that temporarily bans entry into the United States by citizens of six primarily Muslim countries.
In new court filings, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson urged a federal judge to keep in place a previous injunction that blocked much of Trump’s prior executive order. Ferguson, along with other states’ attorneys general, contends the new executive order remains fatally flawed despite a number of changes.
“After spending more than a month to fix a broken order that he rushed out the door, the president’s new order reinstates several of the same provisions and has the same illegal motivations as the original,” Ferguson said in a statement.
Issued Jan. 27, Trump’s initial executive order temporarily banning travel to the United States by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries lost repeated court battles. Amid the airport chaos that accompanied the ban, Seattle-based U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a temporary restraining order Feb. 3
A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 9 subsequently upheld the temporary restraining order, blocking the ban from taking effect nationwide
Trump issued the revised executive order Monday, dropping Iraq from the list of targeted countries, clarifying that the ban does not apply to legal permanent U.S. residents and making other revisions as well.
“I think we feel very comfortable that the executive order that was crafted is consistent and we’re going to go forward on this,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday. “We feel very confident with how that was crafted and the input that was given.”
Washington, though, is again being joined by other states, including New York and Minnesota, in the fight over Trump’s proposed travel ban, which will take effect next Thursday. On Wednesday, in a separate legal action, the state of Hawaii asked a different federal judge to block the new executive order with a temporary restraining order.
“President Trump’s latest executive order is a Muslim ban by another name,” New York Attorney General A.G. Schneiderman said in a statement Thursday.
The original lawsuit led by Washington state claims that the travel ban violates the Constitution’s equal protection guarantees as well as the First Amendment’s prohibition against a government establishment of religion, by disfavoring Islam. In arguing that anti-Islam animus contributed to the executive order, states are still able to use Trump’s fervent campaign rhetoric against him.
Washington further claims it has the legal standing to sue, because the state’s universities face direct harm to their foreign-born students, among others.
Franco Ordoñez and Anita Kumar contributed to this report.