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US District Judge Derrick Watson
The US Justice Department has submitted a notice to appeal a ruling from a Hawaii federal judge that indefinitely blocked President Donald Trump's travel restrictions on people from several Muslim-majority countries.
Two weeks ago, US District Judge Derrick Watson was the first to rule against the president’s revised executive order, saying that the state of Hawaii had established that the law could not be enforced because it was unconstitutional.
The ruling blocked the travel ban on the grounds that it violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims.
But Watson's initial decision was designed to last only a couple of weeks.
On Wednesday night however, Watson agreed to convert that decision into a longer-term preliminary injunction, extending his previous temporary restraining order.
Protesters rally in front of the Trump Building on Wall Street during a protest against the Trump administration's proposed travel ban and refugee policies, March 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by AFP) 
On Thursday, the Justice Department announced to file an appeal to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which had already ruled against the initial travel ban.
"The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the federal district court's ruling. The President's executive order fails squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our nation's security, and the department will continue to defend this executive order in the courts," a department spokesperson said in a statement.
In the previous ruling, Watson, a Barack Obama appointee, cited several comments made by Trump and declared that the travel order is, despite the administration’s denials, a Muslim ban.
The court in Hawaii was the first to rule on several legal challenges against the travel ban, which targets people from six mainly Muslim countries -- Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.

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