Theodore Chuang is the second federal judge this week to stop President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban from taking effect.
Chuang issued an injunction on Thursday morning after hearing arguments in a case in which the plaintiffs argued that President Trump’s second travel ban still discriminates against Muslims. On Wednesday night, a federal judge in Hawaii froze Trump’s order nationwide just hours before it was to take effect.
Theodore Chuang lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife and two children, according to a 2014 statement released by Senator Ben Cardin. He is active in the Metropolitan Baptist Church of Largo, Maryland. He also serves as a deacon in Washington, D.C.
Here’s what you need to know about Theodore Chuang, the second judge to issue a restraining order against President Trump’s ban.
1. He Was Nominated by President Obama in 2014
Theodore Chuang was nominated to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland by President Barack Obama in September 2013. This came after Judge Roger W. Titus assumed senior status.
On April 29th, 2014, the Senate confirmed Chaung in a 53 to 42 vote.
Derrick Watson, the Hawaii judge who issued the first restraining order on Wednesday, was also appointed by President Obama.
2. He Previously Worked for the United States Department of Justice
Theodore Chuang graduated from Harvard Law School in 1994. After graduation, he spent a year serving as a clerk for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
After this, Chaung began working in the Department of Justice as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division. He served in this position until 1998.
From 1998 to 2004, Chaung served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Massachusetts. He then worked at a law firm for a few years before going to work as the deputy chief investigative counsel for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the chief investigative counsel for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and finally, he served in the general counsel’s office of the Department of Homeland Security.
3. He Was the Editor of the Harvard Law Review
While he was at Harvard Law School, Theodore Chuang was the editor of the Harvard Law Review.
He also previously covered sports for The Harvard Crimson. One of his last articles was titled “Daddy? What Were Sports in The 80s Like?” and in it, he details what he will tell his future son about what sports were like in the 1980s.
“The 80s were when Brad Park beat Buffalo in overtime,” he writes. “When the lights went out at the Boston Garden. When Terry O’Reilly hit the ref. Jim Schoenfeld, too. When the recreational refs in yellow jerseys officiated the Conference Finals. When the Bruins went over the boards in New York.”
After running through a number of other sports memories from the 80s, Chuang concludes by writing, “The kid will look at me and frown. Like you, he probably won’t understand a word I say. But I understand every single one. That’s what memories are all about.”
4. He Worked at the State Department During the Benghazi Hearings
As Congress was investigating the terrorist attack that occurred at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Chuang was working as legal counsel for the U.S. State Department. He was in charge of providing legal guidance to the department as Congress was investigating the attack.
When Chuang was nominated to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Republicans opposed his nomination, saying that he had a role in “stonewalling” Congress’ Benghazi investigation.
“His job at the State Department was to provide legal guidance and manage the department’s responses to the congressional investigation into the terrorist attack,” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said in a statement. “For months, the State Department ignored congressional inquiries. That forced the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to issue subpoenas in August 2013. Mr. Chuang received those duly issued subpoenas, but continued the administration’s policy of systematic stonewalling.”
Grassley goes on to say that Chuang’s “role in coordinating the administration’s responses was plainly unsatisfactory and unacceptable” and that “[f]or this reason, I have decided to oppose this nomination.”
Chuang was ultimately confirmed, but every single Republican in the entire Senate voted against him. On the other hand, Derrick Watson, the first judge to file a restraining order against the travel ban this week, was unanimously confirmed.
5. He Took Donald Trump’s Past Statements Into Account in the Ruling
In his decision, Chuang, like many of the other judges who have heard this case, took Donald Trump’s past comments into account as evidence that this executive order is a Muslim ban, even if it does not say that in the text of the order.
“These statements, which include explicit, direct statements of President Trump’s animus toward Muslims and intention to impose a ban on Muslims entering the United States, present a convincing case that the first executive order was issued to accomplish, as nearly as possible, President Trump’s promised Muslim ban,” Chuang said in his decision.
In addition to Donald Trump’s own comments, both Derrick Watson and Theodore Chuang cited Rudy Giuliani, who said in a Fox News interview in late January that Trump asked him how to legally institute a Muslim ban. The judges also cited Donald Trump’s promise to put in place a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
“The history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban,” Chuang said in his decision.
At a rally on Wednesday, President Trump did not help his case when he said that the second travel ban is basically a watered-down version of the first one and that he wishes he could go back to the original order. Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii argued in his decision that the end goal of both orders is exactly the same, and lawyers will likely cite this new quote from Trump as evidence of that.
“The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first order,” Trump said. “I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way. That’s what I wanted to do in the first place.”
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