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Federal Judge Delaying Decision in Va. Case Against Pres. Trump

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -

A federal judge is putting off making a decision on a Virginia case about President Trump's travel ban.

Lawyers for the state say the ban violates the U.S. Constitution.

Michael Kelly, spokesman for Virginia's Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring, said Friday's hearing in federal court in a Washington suburb poses the most significant state challenge yet.

Virginia's challenge comes after a federal appeals court in San Francisco refused Thursday to reinstate the ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations.

The judge hearing the case in Virginia indicated the ruling would “not come overnight in the commonwealth.”

She also noted the Trump Administration's ban has several “defects.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Release from the Office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring:

ALEXANDRIA (February 10, 2017) - Today Attorney General Mark R. Herring and his team made the nation's first arguments in federal district court on why President Donald Trump's immigration ban should be stopped with a preliminary injunction.

Attorney General Herring made the case that President Trump's ban on entry of lawful permanent residents and visa holders from seven majority Muslim nations constitutes an unlawful version of the "Muslim ban" that he proposed during the campaign.

The commonwealth argued that the ban has harmed Virginia by violating the due process and equal protection rights of Virginia residents, as well as the establishment clause of the United States Constitution.

"President Trump's ban was conceived in religious bigotry, utterly indifferent to the facts, and executed with no foresight, skill, or diligence," said Attorney General Herring. "The record is clear. The words of President Trump himself and his closest advisers all indicate he wanted a religious ban that he could dress up just enough to make it look legal. We are asking the court to see this ban for what it is. We presented considerable evidence that this ban is motivated by religious animus and undermines our national security, while the administration failed to refute any of our evidence or enter a single piece of its own evidence to support its claims. I believe the judge heard the facts fairly, and I think the facts and evidence are overwhelming that this ban is unlawful, unconstitutional, un-American and should be overturned."

Today's hearing was the first in the nation on a motion for a preliminary injunction. If Attorney General Herring is successful, the court will issue a preliminary injunction that will last through trial, as opposed to a temporary restraining order that will soon expire. The issuance of a preliminary injunction will indicate a likelihood that Virginia will succeed on the merits of its challenge.

The commonwealth presented considerable evidence that the ban was motivated by religious animus and none of the evidence was refuted by the administration. During the hearing, Judge Brinkema read extensively from the declaration filed in the case by a bipartisan coalition of national security officials who believe the ban is unnecessary, unprecedented, and undermines our nation's security. The administration failed to refute the claims in the declaration and offered no evidence of its own to justify the ban.

Attorney General Herring's brief in support of a preliminary injunction is available here: http://www.oag.state.va.us/files/Aziz-v.-Trump-et-al/Brief-in-Support-of-Preliminary-Injunction.pdf

All of the documents filed by the Commonwealth in this case are available here: http://www.oag.state.va.us/citizen-resources/virginia-s-challenge-to-president-trump-s-immigration-ban

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