Bush-Appointed Judge Blocks Trump's Travel Ban Nationwide
A federal judge in Seattle placed a nationwide temporary restraining order on President Trump's travel ban after the executive order was challenged by the Washington state attorney general.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the challenge to the executive order, signed last Friday, on Monday, making Washington the first state to take the order to court. Ferguson charged that the executive order blocking refugees and temporarily stopping entrance into the United States from seven Muslim-majority nations violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, due process in the Fifth Amendment, and the the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.
U.S. District Court Senior Judge James L. Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, found that Washington state met certain standards of their case -- including a likelihood that their lawsuit could succeed -- to temporarily block the order.
Robart ordered federal officials to stop enforcing the 90-day block on visitors from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. He also ordered a halt to the suspension of the refugee admissions program, along with the section of the executive order giving religious minorities preference in the refugee process and a section of the order stating "the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States" and freezing admissions indefinitely. The ruling also suspends a provision that gives the secretaries of State and Homeland Security case-by-case discretion to rule on individual refugees while the ban is in place.
The temporary restraining order "is granted on a nationwide basis," Robart wrote, and prohibits enforcement of those executive order provisions "at all United States borders and ports of entry pending further orders from this court." The parties will be back in court on Monday.
"At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the president, which we believe is lawful and appropriate. The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a late-night statement.
Ten minutes after the original statement, the administration sent out an "updated" version omitting the word "outrageous."
"As the law states, 'Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate,'" Spicer added.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued a statement calling the ruling "a victory for the Constitution and for all of us who believe this un-American executive order will not make us safer."
"President Trump should heed this ruling and he ought to back off and repeal the executive order once and for all," Schumer said.
Minnesota joined Washington state in an amended court filing on Thursday. Additionally, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia have brought legal action against the executive order.
Included in Washington's case were declarations from companies located in the state, including Amazon and Expedia, asserting that Trump's order negatively affects their operations and employees.
A new CNN/ORC poll found 47 percent in favor of the executive order and 53 percent opposed. Twenty-nine percent said they wanted to see the order expanded to include other countries. Forty-one percent said they believed the order would make the United States safer from terrorism. Forty-five percent of respondents identified as political independents.