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Hawaii Attorney General Leads Coalition Urging Congress to Protect Transgender Service Members

In a letter to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, Attorney General Doug Chin today led a coalition of 19 attorneys general expressing their opposition to the President’s ban on transgender people serving in the Armed Forces. The letter was joined by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C.

Attorney General Chin said, “Policies that have no factual basis and that marginalize and reject classes of people have no place in the 21st century.”

On Wednesday, the President by tweet announced a new ban on transgender service members, citing unnamed support from military leadership. In response, the attorneys general declare the ban is discriminatory and, despite the President’s claims otherwise, is actually harmful to military readiness. The letter notes that approximately 150,000 transgender service members have served in the United States Armed Forces:

“Transgender service members fill a number of critical military roles. Retaining these talented service members strengthens—not weakens— our military readiness.”

The attorneys general remind the House and Senate committees of the honorable service performed by transgender service members, writing:

“The members of our Armed Forces put their lives on the line to protect freedom for all Americans. Thousands of transgender Americans serve in uniform today. This policy tells them, ‘you are not welcome here.’ The decision to oust honorable, well-trained, and patriotic service members based on nothing more than their gender identity is undiluted discrimination and therefore indefensible. We urge that this newly announced policy be immediately reversed.”

Click to read full letter

Hawaii Attorney General Chin to Serve on Executive Committee for National Association of Attorneys General

Attorney General Doug Chin has been re-appointed to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), a bipartisan organization of all attorneys general nationwide.

Doug Chin

Attorney General Chin previously served on the NAAG Executive Committee in his position as Chair of the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG). His tenure as CWAG Chair ends at the beginning of August, but NAAG President and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has appointed Attorney General Chin to remain on the Executive Committee.

Attorney General Chin said, “Our work with NAAG helps ensure issues important to Hawaii are addressed and directly benefits the work we are doing at our office.”

Attorney General Chin will also serve as a member of the following NAAG committees: civil rights, criminal law, and training. In addition, he is co-chair of the finance committee, co-chair of the marijuana issues working group and a member of the Volkswagen settlement fund committee.

Hawaii Attorney General Responds to Attorney General Session’s Comment

Attorney General Doug Chin issued the following statement today in response to the statement from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he is “amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power.”

“President Trump previously called a federal judge in California a so-called judge. Now U.S. Attorney General Sessions appears to dismiss a federal judge in Hawaii as just a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific. Our Constitution created a separation of powers in the United States for a reason. Our federal courts, established under article III of the Constitution, are co-equal partners with Congress and the President. It is disappointing AG Sessions does not acknowledge that.”

Trump Travel Ban Case Update: Court Grants Conversion of Temporary Restraining Order to Preliminary Injunction

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Doug Chin issued the following statement today in response to the ruling by federal judge Derrick K. Watson granting the state’s motion to convert the temporary restraining order enjoining the President’s travel ban to a preliminary injunction:

“This is an important affirmation of the values of religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution’s First Amendment. With a preliminary injunction in place, people in Hawaii with family in the six affected Muslim-majority countries – as well as Hawaii students, travelers, and refugees across the world – face less uncertainty. While we understand that the President may appeal, we believe the court’s well-reasoned decision will be affirmed.”

Unlike a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction generally has no set expiration date.

Trump Travel Ban Update: Hawaii Seeks Conversion of Temporary Restraining Order to Preliminary Injunction

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that the state of Hawaii has moved to convert the temporary restraining order issued last week by Hawaii federal judge Derrick K. Watson in the travel ban case into a preliminary injunction.

Attorney General Doug Chin

On March 15, 2017, Judge Watson issued a 43-page opinion enjoining the federal government nationwide from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of a second Executive Order issued by President Trump. That Executive Order would have restricted immigration from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen, and also temporarily suspended refugee admissions. The second Executive Order had been scheduled to become effective on March 16, 2017.

Attorney General Chin said, “Protecting national security and the safety of our state is critically important, but executive orders must not discriminate against people based on national origin or religion. President Trump during his campaign called for a Muslim ban. His comments in the last week indicate he still supports that policy.”

In today’s filings, Hawaii quotes from the following statement made by the President at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee on the evening of March 15 after the federal court had issued its temporary restraining order:

“The order [Judge Watson] blocked was a watered down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with . . . . Remember this. I wasn’t thrilled, but the lawyers all said, oh, let’s tailor it. This is a watered down version of the first one. This is a watered down version. And let me tell you something, 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.”

Today’s filings also describe a television interview later that night during which President Trump stated that it was “very hard” to assimilate Muslims into Western culture.

Under federal court rules, a temporary restraining order expires 14 days after entry, unless the court extends it. In contrast, a preliminary injunction will last as long as directed by the court.

A hearing on today’s motion is currently scheduled before Judge Watson on March 29, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. The Court has advised that the hearing date and time may be changed or vacated upon review of the written briefs. The parties have also stipulated that Judge Watson’s nationwide order of March 15, 2017 shall remain in place until such time as the Court rules on whether the TRO should be converted to a preliminary injunction or until otherwise ordered by the Court.

Copies of the motion to convert the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction and the memorandum in support of the motion are attached.