When not one, but two federal judges halted President Donald Trump's second attempt at a Muslim travel ban on Wednesday evening, it wasn't simply a body blow to a policy that was already on the ropes. It was a repudiation of the white nationalist philosophy coursing its way through the president's agenda, merely because of the identities of the people involved in handing Trump one of the most stinging defeats of his presidency.
Judge Derrick Kahala Watson, who presided over the challenge to Trump's Muslim ban in Hawaii, is just the fourth-ever native Hawaiian to ever sit on a federal bench. After his 2013 confirmation, the Asian Pacific American Caucus applauded his new position, saying, "this decision continues a significant trend of working to ensure that our federal judiciary reflects the diversity of the American people."
In ruling on the case, Judge Watson sided with Ismail Elshikh, imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii and a U.S. citizen whose Syrian mother-in-law was affected by the proposed travel ban. Arguing Elshikh's case was state Attorney General Douglas Chin, himself the son of Chinese immigrants. As the Guardian's Julia Carrie Wong mused, the triad of a Chinese-American lawyer representing a Muslim-American plaintiff before a native Hawaiian judge is "pretty cool."
In Maryland, meanwhile, it was Judge Theodore David Chuang who offered the second rebuke to the administration's latest travel ban. Chuang is the state's first Asian-American federal judge. He slammed the president's "history of public statements" as making "a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban."
The future of Trump's travel ban—and other efforts to limit the flow of immigrants into the U.S. while potentially discriminating against those already here—remains in question. However, what's clear from the one-two legal punch suffered by the administration on Wednesday is that despite the president's protestations, the diverse, multicultural, multi-ethnic society this administration seems so adamantly against is not going to bow down quietly to him.