Last week, Federal District Judge for the District of Maryland Theodore Chuang halted President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on visitors from six Middle Eastern countries, as well as refugees from all nations. Now, however, it looks like this has come back to bite Chuang, as his impartiality is being called into question.
Breitbart reported that it was just revealed that Chuang served as deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2014. Because of this, many are saying he should have refused himself from the case International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) v.Trump, in which DHS, the State Department, and President Trump are defendants.
Title 28, Part I, Chapter 21, Section 455 (a) “Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge” of the U.S. Code Annotated specifically states: “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
Many legal scholars and experts agree that Chuang’s ruling “might reasonably be questioned.” They have also questioned another ruling made on the same day by another Obama appointee, Federal District Judge Derrick Watson, in Hawaii.
“Two federal judges, both nominated by President Barack Obama, have issued injunctions against President Donald Trump’s revised executive order temporarily restricting travel from six terrorist safe havens in the Middle East and Africa,” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, wrote recently at The Daily Signal.
The decisions by Derrick Kahala Watson in Hawaii and Theodore David Chuang in Maryland should shock no one—not because the judges are correct, but because their decisions follow the same pattern as prior decisions in Washington state and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals over the first order.
These rulings ignore or misinterpret federal immigration law that gives the president the clear authority to act and prior Supreme Court precedents that support the legality of the president’s actions.