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US judge refuses to rule on Trump's latest travel ban

Judge James Robart said a complaint over the revised ban needed to be filed before he could rule.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

A FEDERAL JUDGE in Seattle who issued the order temporarily halting nationwide implementation of President Donald Trump’s initial travel ban has refused to rule on the new order.

US District Judge James Robart said that because of procedural reasons he won’t immediately rule on whether his restraining order applies to the new travel ban.

Robart’s order stated that motions or a complaint over the revised ban need to be filed before he can make a decision. The states of Washington and Minnesota, as well as the Justice Department, have only so far filed notices.

The US Justice Department said in a filing this week that the original order had been revoked and that the court’s restraining order does not limit the government’s ability to immediately begin enforcing the new order.

The states of Washington and Minnesota in a response notice argue that sections of the new order have the same effect as the original one and that the federal government can’t unilaterally decide to change a court’s previous ruling.

Trump’s revised ban blocks new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries including Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. It also temporarily shuts down the U.S. refugee program.

Unlike the original order, the new one says current visa holders won’t be affected, and it removes language that would give priority to religious minorities.

Washington was the first state to sue over the original ban, which resulted in Robart stopping its implementation around the country. The lawsuit says the initial travel ban was unconstitutional and hurt the state’s businesses and universities.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said earlier this week that the revised travel ban has “the same illegal motivations as the original”.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday the administration believed the revised travel ban will stand up to legal scrutiny.

On Twitter yesterday, the Washington state Attorney General’s Office said Ferguson is reviewing Robart’s order with his legal team to determine next steps.

The revised travel ban is scheduled to go into effect this Thursday.

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