Federal judge blocks President Trump's new travel order

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 10:59 PM EDT

The revised travel order that blocks residents from six Muslim majority countries from coming to the United States has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.

  • Federal judge in Hawaii issues temporary hold on revised travel order
  • Says Government failed to show the order does not discriminate against Muslims
  • Order blocks residents from 6 Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
  • PREVIOUS STORY: Trump's revised order bans entry from 6 Muslim countries

U.S. Judge Derrick Watson, a federal judge in Hawaii, issued the ruling Wednesday.

The second executive order by President Trump also suspends the refugee program. 

Federal officials had said the order addressed the concerns that led to a block by federal judges around the country. 

It did not apply to people who already had valid visas and did not include green card holders. 

The new order also removed Iraq from the list of banned countries. 

Homeland Security denies the order is a "Muslim ban" and says it's a temporary suspension from nationals that come from "failed states or states sponsors of terrorism" and because of that fact, the U.S. government does not have the procedures to vet them properly.

In his ruling, Judge Watson said the plaintiffs in the case would likely win on claims that the executive order violated the "Establishment Clause" of the U.S. Constitution.

"Because a reasonable, objective observer — enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance — would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose, the Court finds that Plaintiffs, and Dr. [Ismail] Elshikh [one of the plaintiffs] in particular, are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim," Watson wrote.

The judge dismissed the government's assertions that the order was not a ban on Muslim travelers because the ban includes all individuals from the six countries listed, and those countries only represent a small fraction of the world's Muslim-majority nations.

"The illogic of the Government's contentions is palpable," Watson wrote. "The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed. The Court declines to relegate its Establishment Clause analysis to a purely mathematical exercise. 

"Equally flawed is the notion that the Executive Order cannot be found to have targeted Islam because it applies to all individuals in the six referenced countries," Watson continued. "It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent. It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam. Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the Government does, that it does not."

Watson is an Obama appointee and the only native Hawaiian judge serving on the federal bench.

President Trump slammed the decision at a rally in Nashville Wednesday night.

Trump told supporters at the campaign-style event that the ruling was "unprecedented judicial overreach. 

"The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first one," Trump said, as the crowd booed the news. 

The president also pledged to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Information from the Associated Press and CNN was used in this report.