03:37 - Source: CNN
Trump responds to Hawaii travel ban ruling

Story highlights

The FBI declined to provide additional details on the investigation

Judge Derrick Watson has been the target of threats since the ruling

CNN —  

A Hawaii federal judge who ruled against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban has been the target of threatening messages, the FBI says.

US District Judge Derrick Watson’s ruling last week resulted in a temporary restraining order nationwide – hours before the revised travel ban was set to go into effect.

In a 43-page ruling, US District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who presides in Honolulu, concluded in no uncertain terms that the new executive order failed to pass legal muster at this stage and the state had established “a strong likelihood of success” on their claims of religious discrimination.

Watson, who presides in Honolulu, has received threatening messages since the ruling. FBI spokeswoman Michele Ernst said the agency is aware of the situation and prepared to assist.

The FBI declined to provide additional details on the investigation. The US Marshals Service, which is spearheading the investigation, said it does not discuss specific security measures.

“The US Marshals Service is responsible for the protection of federal judicial officials, including judges and prosecutors, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” it said in a statement.

“While we do not discuss our specific security measures, we continuously review the security measures in place for all federal judges and take appropriate steps to provide additional protection when it is warranted.”

Trump decried Watson’s ruling during a rally Wednesday night in Nashville, introducing his statement as “the bad, the sad news.”

“This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach,” he added, before pledging to take the issue to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The practical effect of Watson’s ruling – which applies nationwide – is that travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees will be able to travel to the US.

Unlike the previous executive order, the new one removed Iraq from the list of banned countries, exempted those with green cards and visas and removed a provision that arguably prioritizes certain religious minorities.

The new ban was announced earlier this month and was set to take effect Thursday. It would have banned people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.

“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed,” Watson wrote.

After Trump initially blasted a federal judge in Seattle on Twitter for blocking the original travel ban, and several other federal courts halted its implementation last month, the White House went back to the drawing board for over a month and rewrote the ban – hoping this one would survive legal scrutiny.

Both Watson and Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland brought up specific statements made by the President and Stephen Miller, one of his top policy advisers and a reported architect of the original order, in cable news interviews.

Notably, however, Chuang issued a preliminary injunction, which will last through a trial on the merits of the case, whereas Watson only issued a temporary restraining order of the executive order, which is typically more limited in time. Watson said he intends to set an expedited hearing to determine whether it should be extended.

Immigration advocates applauded Watson’s ruling Wednesday evening immediately.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to reflect Chuang’s ruling was published Thursday morning.

CNN’s Eli Watkins and Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.