Seattle Federal Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order on Trump’s Muslim Ban

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Image courtesy of Ted Eytan

On Friday, February 3rd, Federal District Court Judge James Robart issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), blocking much of Trump’s Muslim ban executive order. In his decision to issue the TRO in the case of State of Washington v. Donald Trump, Judge Robart wrote that “the circumstances brought before [his court] today are such that it must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government.” The judge’s TRO blocks implementation of these sections of Trump’s Muslim Ban executive order:

  • Section 3(c) The 90-day ban on immigrants coming from seven Muslim-majority countries.
  • Section 5(a) The 120-day suspension of all refugee admissions worldwide.
  • Section 5(b) Giving preference to Christian refugees.
  • Section 5(c) Indefinitely suspending all admissions of Syrian refugees.
  • Section 5(e) Allowing for the admission of Christian refugees, notwithstanding the ban on refugee admissions.

In issuing the TRO, Judge Robart wrote that the State of Washington had demonstrated that it was likely to prevail in the lawsuit and that allowing the president’s order to remain in place would do substantial and irreparable harm. The Trump administration appealed the decision. Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Virginia have filed their own suits against the President.

Although Judge Robart came under a brutal public attack by President Trump, who referred to him as a “so-called judge,” other federal judges around the country have also issued decisions that found Trump’s actions illegal. From coast to coast, courts have questioned the legality of the executive order. “It’s quite clear it was not all that thought out…As a result there has been chaos,” said Judge Leonie Brinkema in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Virginia on February 3rd, for example.

On Sunday, February 5th, the United States Court of Appeals turned down a request from the Trump administration for an immediate stay of a Federal District Court’s order blocking the president’s Muslim Ban executive order. The decision by the 9th Circuit was a simple fifty-word statement that the administration’s “request for an immediate administrative stay pending full consideration of the emergency motion…is denied” and setting February 6th at 3 pm as a deadline for the government to submit a brief on the matter.

This decision by the 9th Circuit does not mean that the Muslim Ban will be stopped from going into effect later, it only signifies that the appeals court did not buy the administration’s claim that irreparable harm is being done by allowing people with visas from the seven “banned” countries to come in while the court is weighing a decision.


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