A second federal judge struck down President Donald Trump's travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries.
In a 43-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii said the executive order didn't pass a legal test and that there was "a strong likelihood of success" for states that have challenged the ruling based on religious discrimination, reported CNN.
"The illogic of the Government's contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed," Watson wrote. "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% to 99.8%. 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."
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Watson also doubted Trump's claims that the ban is necessary to protect the nation.
"When considered alongside the constitutional injuries and harms ... and the questionable evidence supporting the Government's national security motivations, the balance of equities and public interests justify granting the Plaintiffs' (request to block the new order)," the judge wrote.
At a public event in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump criticized the ruling.
"Let me give you the bad, the sad, news,” Trump told the crowd, according to the Boston Herald. "Moments ago, I learned that a district judge in Hawaii, part of the much-overturned 9th Circuit Court ... has just blocked our executive order on travel and refugees coming into our country from certain countries. The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first order, which was also blocked by another judge -- and should have never been blocked to start with."
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"This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach," Trump added. "The law and the Constitution give the president the power to suspend immigration...if he or she deems it to be in the national interest of our country."
Trump's executive order, which imposes a 90-day ban on new visa applicants from Syria, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan, has also been struck down by federal judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland, according to a report by Bloomberg.