U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson has reined in an injunction Monday in Hawaii, nullifying its impact on studies and policy reviews ordered under the directive Trump issued in March and billed as an anti-terrorism initiative.
The federal judge scaled back the injunction he issued three months ago blocking key parts of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban executive order. In a ruling last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the bulk of Watson’s injunction, but said portions of it that blocked the Trump administration from studying vetting procedures were too broad and should be lifted, Politico writes.
Hours after the Ninth Circuit issued the mandate in the appeal on Monday, formally putting its opinion into effect, Watson released the amended injunction in the case, allowing the federal government to conduct “internal review procedures” relating to the travel and refugee programs at issue as long as those reviews “do not burden individuals outside of the executive branch of the federal government.”
Critics have said the administration’s sluggishness in carrying out the policy reviews demonstrated that the March order and its predecessor issued in January were not genuine efforts to stem the threat of terrorism. However, administration officials such as Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said they were treading carefully to avoid accusations that they were defying court orders.
The Supreme Court is expected to announce as soon as Thursday whether it will consider the legality of the Trump travel ban in the wake of two appeals court decisions upholding injunctions against the directive. The justices are also expected to rule on whether the Trump administration can implement the order while any Supreme Court challenge plays out or whether the measure will remain on hold.
Some experts believe the narrowing of Watson’s order makes it less likely the justices will take immediate action to modify the injunctions while the litigation moves forward.