The Department of Justice has appealed a Hawaii court order that brought President Trump’s travel ban to a national halt.
The government has argued that the president was well within his authority to restrict travel from six Muslim-majority countries and put a pause on refugee resettlement.
The appeal Thursday to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals came a day after U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu refused to dismiss his temporary block of the travel ban that he issued on March 15.
With the appeal, the government is now fighting to reinstate the travel ban in two appeals courts on opposite ends of the country. That increases the likelihood that one of the cases will make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice appealed a Maryland district judge’s order against the travel ban to the U.S. 4th District Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.
Both rulings in Hawaii and Maryland said Trump’s executive order discriminated against Muslims. Watson and U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland cited Trump’s campaign promises to suspend Muslim travel to the U.S. as proof of his order’s anti-Muslim bias.
The Hawaii ruling is broader than the Maryland one. It blocks a 90-day pause on travel to the U.S. from nationals of six majority-Muslim countries and a 120-day moratorium on new refugee resettlement. The Maryland ruling only halted the ban on travel into the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The 9th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over nine Western states, is the same court where a panel of three judges denied a government request last month to reverse ruling against the first travel ban by a federal judge in Washington state.
Trump, in turn, lambasted the "bad court" and signed a new executive order on travel on March 6 that was modified in an attempt to survive court challenges.
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press) Judge Neil M. Gorsuch (Associated Press) Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.