One of the first actions Trump took when he entered office was to issue an Executive Order (EO) instituting a travel ban that generated confusion and caused havoc at border entry points across the country. Dozens of lawsuits were filed against the ban, and its implementation was quickly halted in federal court.
In response, Trump issued another EO in March, which, while not as destructive or as blatantly discriminatory as the first, still generated concerns about its Constitutionality.
Both Executive Orders have been blocked in federal court, the most recent order blocked nationally in the last 24 hours by Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii. In issuing his original order, Judge Watson noted the anti-Muslim commentary by Trump associated with both his original EO and the updated EO.
A review of the historical background here makes plain why the Government wishes to focus on the Executive Order’s text, rather than its context. The record before this Court is unique. It includes significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the Executive Order and its related predecessor. For example—
In March 2016, Mr. Trump said, during an interview, “I think Islam hates us.” Mr. Trump was asked, “Is there a war between the West and radical Islam, or between the West and Islam itself?” He replied: “It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.”
SAC ¶ 41 (citing Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees: Exclusive Interview With Donald Trump (CNN television broadcast Mar. 9, 2016, 8:00 PM ET), transcript available at https://goo.gl/y7s2kQ)). In that same interview, Mr. Trump stated: “But there’s a tremendous hatred. And we have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful. And we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatredof the United States. . . [a]nd of people that are not Muslim.”
An excellent source for these court cases is the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse from the University of Michigan Law School. It has created a collection specifically related to these two Executive Orders.