Federal Judge in Va. Rules on a Technicality in Favor of Trump’s Travel Ban

Pool/Getty Images
Pool/Getty Images

Because we know there had to be one, a federal judge in Virginia ruled in favor of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban and in opposition to the decisions of judges who ruled before him—and providing ammunition to Justice Department lawyers who are arguing in favor of the ban in several courts across the U.S.

The Los Angeles Times reports that U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga of the Eastern District Court of Virginia ruled against the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other Muslim leaders across the country who brought the lawsuit, in which they argued Trump’s ban illegally discriminated against their religion by restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries.

In his ruling, Trenga said that the ban “likely falls within the bounds” of Trump’s authority as president. He rejected the request to halt the order and wrote that the plaintiffs would probably not prevail in their suit.


As the Times notes, Trenga’s ruling has no immediate impact on the ban because it was already put on hold by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland, but it does give government lawyers a Hail Mary pass as they argue the case in court.

In their rulings last week, both judges cited comments made by Trump and those in his circle about restricting Muslim entry into the U.S. as evidence of Trump’s intentions when he issued the ban: He wanted to target followers of Islam.

Trenga’s ruling focused on how the travel ban is worded and how that aligns with Trump’s presidential power over immigration and national security.

In other words, Trenga found the loophole.

From the Times:

The judge highlighted the changes made to narrow the scope of the travel ban after an initial version of the order was struck down by federal courts in January and February. Changes in the new version included omitting Iraq from the list of countries whose travelers would be blocked and removing preferential treatment of refugees who were religious minorities.


See? Loophole.

Of course, lawyers from the Justice Department praised Trenga’s ruling.

“The Department of Justice is pleased with the ruling,” department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement. “As the Court correctly explains, the president’s executive order falls well within his authority to safeguard the nation’s security.”


As previously reported on The Root, Trump’s original ban was signed on Jan. 27 and halted a week later by a federal judge in Washington state. Trump signed a new and improved revised ban March 6, and it was scheduled to go into effect March 16, but federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland put a stop to that.


All three rulings are only temporary decisions as cases over the constitutionality of the travel ban go through the courts.

According to the Times, the Justice Department has filed an appeal of the Maryland decision but not the Hawaii case, and Trump has said that he wants to take arguments over his precious ban to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Because he is nothing if not insistent on continually proving what a child he is over certain things.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`


Did the judge seriously use the phrase “probably” to justify this as being within Trump’s executive powers?

Because that sounds like doubt. Not sure how a judge can rule this way if doubt exists.