HONOLULU, USA: The federal judge in Hawaii blocked President Donald Trump’s most recent travel ban has received numerous death threats, authorities said.
FBI spokeswoman Michele Ernst said on Thursday that the agency is aware of reports of threatening messages against US District Judge Derrick Watson, who presides over cases in Hawaii, and is prepared to help if necessary.
US Marshals Service, responsible for protecting federal judicial officials, flew in about a dozen deputies from the mainland to provide Watson with 24-hour protection.
According to the service, Marshals don’t discuss specific security measures but does provide additional protection when warranted.
Watson blocked the federal government from enforcing its ban on new visas for people from six mostly Muslim countries and suspension of the refugee program.
He issued his ruling on March 15, just hours before the travel ban was to go into effect.
President Donald Trump called Watson’s ruling an example of “unprecedented judicial overreach” and said his administration would appeal it.
Watson said he believed Hawaii would be able to make the case that the retooled travel ban would violate the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution, which prohibits religious discrimination.
However, the Justice Department said that the president had acted within his power and said that the new order was ‘significantly’ different from the older one, which was also stopped by a federal judge.
Hawaii challenged the ban, which was signed on March 6 and revamped an earlier, more sweeping order, arguing it discriminates against Muslims and violates the US Constitution.
The first ban was halted by a federal court in Seattle.
Trump’s original ban was rolled out on January 27, just a week into his administration, and hit legal potholes almost immediately.
The travel ban has been politically tricky for Trump too, as the first one, which went into effect immediately and lead to confusion at airports across the country.
The new ban was supposed to take care of some of the legal problems, as it specifically didn’t apply to green card and visa holders.