Virginia Judge Rules Trump's Travel Ban Is Based on Religious Bias

Posted: Feb 14, 2017 12:15 PM

A Virginia judge has filed the latest challenge to President Trump’s temporary travel moratorium on seven nations from the Middle East and Africa. In her decision to file a preliminary injunction, Judge Leonie Brinkema argued that the executive order is in violation of the First Amendment because it is a religious test. She said the president’s own remarks drew her to that conclusion.

"The president himself acknowledged the conceptual link between a Muslim ban and the EO (executive order)," Judge Brinkema wrote.

She also criticised the president's statements that persecuted Christians may be permitted entry despite the ban, which she said amounts to a religious test.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring used a bit stronger language when condemning Trump’s travel order, defining it as “religious bigotry.”

This isn't the first time Brinkema has challenged the executive order. On the first weekend it was enforced, Brinkema ruled that any detainees at Virginia's Dulles international airport had the right to attorneys and would be protected from immediate deportation.

Before Judge Brinkema issued her ruling, Seattle’s Judge James Robart filed his own injunction against Trump’s executive order. An appeals court upheld the order last week. Should the Trump administration choose not to challenge the ruling at the Supreme Court, expect them to write a whole new order.