Companies including Apple, Facebook and Google have mysteriously stopped opposing Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.
The first time it was proposed, almost every major tech company publicly filed briefs against the order. But after it was brought back in a slightly less extreme form, the biggest companies have dropped their opposition to it.
A group of 58 technology companies, including Airbnb, Lyft and Dropbox, filed a “friend of the court” brief in the case saying the second order hurt their ability to recruit the best talent from around the world.
But that was much shorter than the initial list of companies, which included Apple, Facebook and Google – which filed a brief opposing the first ban in a different court challenge brought by Washington state, which is ongoing.
Donald Trump’s second ban was blocked by a Hawaii judge just hours before it was intended to go into effect. The emergency order halted the ban and led to an angry response from the President.
The action was the latest legal blow to the administration’s efforts to temporarily ban refugees as well as travellers from six predominantly Muslim countries, which the President has said is needed for national security. Trump lashed out at the judge’s ruling, saying it “makes us look weak.”
Trump signed the new ban on March 6 in a bid to overcome legal problems with a January executive order that caused chaos at airports and sparked mass protests before a Washington judge stopped its enforcement in February.
US District Judge Derrick Watson put an emergency stop to the new order in response to a lawsuit filed by the state of Hawaii, which argued that the order discriminated against Muslims in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Judge Watson concluded in his ruling that while the order did not mention Islam by name, “a reasonable, objective observer … would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion.” Watson was appointed to the bench by former Democratic President Barack Obama.
Speaking at a rally in Nashville, Trump called his revised executive order a “watered-down version” of his first. “I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way, which is what I wanted to do in the first place,” Trump said.
Trump called the judge’s block “unprecedented judicial overreach” and said he will take the case “as far as it needs to go,” including to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Department of Justice called the ruling “flawed both in reasoning and in scope,” adding that the president has broad authority in national security matters. “The Department will continue to defend this Executive Order in the courts,” it said a statement.