A federal judge in Boston heard arguments Friday from the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts on whether to extend a temporary restraining order that prohibits U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents from enforcing aspects of President Donald Trump's travel ban.
From the beginning, Judge Nathaniel Gorton seemed skeptical. Matthew Segal of the ACLU argued that the travel ban discriminates against Muslims, but Gorton said he read nothing in Trump’s executive order that specifically singled out Muslims. Segal then referenced Trumps’ own words from December of 2015 calling for a “complete and total ban on Muslims” entering the country. Later, when another lawyer cited the Constitution's equal protection clause, Gorton questioned its applicability in this case. Matthew Segal says the ACLU's request for a permanent injunction would allow more time to deal with a rash of new cases of green card holders being denied boarding access by airlines.
"What this is about is what are going to be the ground rules while we litigate this case, and what we’ve seen in the last week is that people have been thrown into chaos, their lives have been up ended, and what we are talking about is an affecting peoples’ lives every day," Segal added.
Lawyers for the government argued that the problems affecting green card holders were largely moot and extending the injunction was unnecessary. Judge Gorton took all the arguments under advisement and will make a ruling sometime Sunday, before the seven-day injunction expires.