US judge indefinitely extends ruling halting travel ban

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, March 30 (IANS) A federal judge in Hawaii granted the state's request for a longer-term halt of President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, a media report said.

"The Court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has," US District Court Judge Derrick Watson said on Wednesday.

"The Court concludes that, on the record before it, Plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim."

Judge Watson blocked the core provisions of the revised executive order two weeks ago, concluding that the order likely violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution by disfavouring Muslims, CNN said in the report.

But Watson's earlier decision was only a limited freeze of the executive order through a temporary restraining order.

As a result, the plaintiffs asked the judge to convert that decision into a longer-term preliminary injunction and Watson agreed on Wednesday night, meaning that the President's 90-day ban on foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries and the 120-ban on all refugees entering the country are now blocked indefinitely unless any higher court changes Watson's order or the state's lawsuit is otherwise resolved.

According to officials, one of the practical implications of Wednesday's decision is that the Justice Department may now immediately appeal the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, should it choose to do so.

But how long it will take for any appeals to be completed remains unclear, the CNN report added.