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Legal Update

Hawaii Federal Judge Blocks Revised Travel Ban

15 March 2017
Mayer Brown Legal Update

A federal judge for the US District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a nationwide order on March 15, 2017, blocking implementation of an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on March 6, 2017, titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” The Executive Order was scheduled to be implemented on Thursday, March 16.

In a legal action titled State of Hawai’i and Ismail Elshikh vs. Donald J. Trump, et. al., US District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson issued a 43-page decision, enjoining, nationwide, Sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order. Section 2 of the Executive Order would, among other directives, temporarily suspend for 90 days the entry into the United States of certain nationals of six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Section 6 of the Executive Order would realign the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), including the temporary suspension for 120 days of travel by refugees into the United States under USRAP.

Judge Watson stated that “[w]hen considered alongside the constitutional injuries and harms discussed [in the decision], and the questionable evidence supporting the Government’s national security motivations, the balance of equities and public interests justify granting the Plaintiffs’ [Temporary Restraining Order].” Among other injuries alleged by the plaintiffs, the court noted that the plaintiffs were “likely to succeed” on their allegation that the Executive Order violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The court stated that it intends to set an expedited briefing and hearing schedule in this matter to determine whether the Temporary Restraining Order should be extended.


  • Elizabeth (Liz) Espín Stern
    T +1 202 263 3825
  • Paul Virtue
    T +1 202 263 3875
  • Grace Shie
    T +1 202 263 3845
  • Maximillian L. Del Rey
    T +1 202 263 3350
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