Source: Associated Press
By MATTHEW BARAKAT
McLEAN, Va. (AP) — A federal judge Monday granted a preliminary injunction barring the Trump administration from implementing its travel ban in Virginia, adding another judicial ruling to those already in place challenging the ban’s constitutionality.
The ruling is significant from a legal standpoint because U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema found that an unconstitutional religious bias is at the heart of the travel ban, and therefore violates First Amendment prohibitions on favoring one religion over another. She said the evidence introduced so far indicates that Virginia’s challenge to the ban will succeed once it proceeds to trial.
A federal appeals court in California has already upheld a national temporary restraining order stopping the government from implementing the ban, which is directed at seven Muslim-majority countries. But the ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was rooted more in due process grounds, said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat who brought the lawsuit against Trump in Virginia.
“Judge Brinkema’s ruling gets right to the heart of our First Amendment … claim,” Herring said in a conference call Monday night.