District Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii has been in the news quite a bit lately. You may recall that he was one of several judges who issued orders in separate but similar cases to block Trump’s revised EO regarding travel from six Muslim nations. Even more recently, Judge Watson extended the order:
At a hearing in Honolulu on Wednesday [March 29], federal lawyers asked Watson to either dismiss that order or narrow the restrictions to apply to fewer parts of the travel ban.
Instead, Watson said he would turn the order into a preliminary injunction, which has the effect of extending his order blocking the travel ban for a longer period.
Watson said he would keep intact the restrictions on the travel ban — a block of its 90-day moratorium on travel to the U.S. from nationals of six majority-Muslim countries and its 120-day pause on new refugee resettlement.
But that’s not all. Today, in an unprecedented Saturday session, a ruling was issued in another case that had been ridiculed when it first was announced, that of students Justin Hattersea and Monica Slater of the University of Hawaii, who had sued to enjoin President Trump from issuing executive orders of any kind. Many legal experts had declared this suit absurd, stating that there is absolutely no precedent for declaring that plaintiffs Hattersea and Slater have standing to sue. But, as happened in the previous cases, the idea of standing was expanded:
Rules on “standing” mean that not just anybody can waltz into federal court and challenge government actions. To maintain an action, you must demonstrate that you have suffered a violation of a recognized right. To use the lingo of the courts, you must show that your injuries are “concrete and particularized.”…
[The court] used the hurt feelings (yes, really) of American residents and the hypothetical economic harm to American states and local institutions [to grant plaintiffs standing]…
The court granted an individual citizen standing to sue in part because he was “deeply saddened by the message [the executive orders] convey.”
Those quotes from the judge in the previous, narrower case were reiterated and expanded on today in the ruling on the broader case, from which this excerpt is taken:
Plaintiffs Battersea and Slater, students at the University of Hawaii, were not only “deeply saddened” by every single one of Trump’s executive orders and the messages they convey, but they are extremely stressed by his presidency as a whole. This stress has had major economic consequences for them both. Battersea has been so shaken ever since Trump’s election in November that he is doing poorly in school and has gone on academic probation, and his graduation from college (and therefore his future job prospects) is threatened. Slater has suffered so much distress that she has been forced to get an official companion animal, the upkeep of which is fairly expensive. She has also developed Post-Trump Stress Disorder and gone into therapy, another huge expense.
There is no question that plaintiffs have suffered from the Trump presidency and in particular from his executive orders as a group, and he is thus enjoined from issuing them.
Legal experts on the right have howled at the reasoning here, as has the Trump administration. But Trump’s team of lawyers must wait for the appeal process to go forward, and in the meantime Trump’s hands are tied. Any appeal will be to the 9th District, the court that previously upheld the order halting Trump’s travel ban, so it is highly likely that this present ruling will be upheld as well, and the case might end up going to the Supreme Court.