Seattle Judge Blocks Trump Travel Ban Nationwide

SEATTLE (CN) – A federal judge in Washington state dealt another blow to the Trump administration’s ban on entry into the United States from seven Muslim-majority nations, striking down enforcement of the ban in all 50 states.

Earlier Friday, a federal judge in Massachusetts had refused to extend a temporary restraining order on President Donald Trump’s executive order, which applies to anyone entering the United States from one of the seven nations – regardless of their citizenship, immigration status and whether they have a valid U.S. visa.

But hours later, U. S. District Judge James Robart of the Western District of Washington granted a temporary restraining order sought by Washington state and Minnesota and halted enforcement of the order nationwide while the case is deliberated.

Robart denied the Justice Department’s request to limit the ruling to Washington state and Minnesota, saying it would undermine the uniformity of immigration enforcement.

He said he was “mindful of the impact” his ruling would have, but found the states met the burden for irreparable harm and would likely prevail in a final decision.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the federal complaint challenging the ban’s constitutionality Jan. 30.

“The president’s executive order of Jan. 27, 2017, is separating Washington families, harming thousands of Washington residents, damaging Washington’s economy, hurting Washington-based companies, and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees. The court should invalidate the portions of the executive order challenged here,” Ferguson said in the complaint.

In its response, the government said Washington state lacks standing and “the order was well within the president’s authority.”

State Solicitor General Noah Purcell told Robart the Evergreen State could show damages from lost investments in students and faculty at state universities who were displaced by the ban. He also said individuals who “overnight” lost their right to return to the United States may have their own claims, but that doesn’t mean the state can’t represent them, too.

Justice Department attorney Michelle Bennett said the state’s economic damages were “speculative.” She said Trump was “acting well within the authority congress has given him” in issuing the immigration order.

Robart issued the oral order from the bench and said he would have a written opinion this weekend “if you want to have the Ninth Circuit check my homework.”

Trump’s team wasted little time, but the Ninth Circuit rejected their demand for an administrative stay on Saturday. Pending the federal appeals court’s full consideration of the emergency motion, the opposition brief from Washington state and the reply brief from Trump are due Monday.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee immediately called the ruling a “tremendous victory for the state of Washington” on Twitter. And Inslee’s attorney general praised Robart’s ruling as well.

“The Constitution prevailed today,” Ferguson said in a statement.  “No one is above the law – not even the president.”

Along with the state’s brief, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright signed a joint declaration with nine other former national security, foreign policy and intelligence officials in the U.S. government. Former Secretary of State John Kerry signed this exhibit, as did former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, former CIA director Leon Panetta and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell introduced another 10 exhibits Monday morning. A reply from Trump is due on Feb. 6, 2017, at 3 p.m. P.S.T.

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