Donald Trump’s controversial executive order, banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days, halting all refugee entry to the US for 120 days and indefinitely suspending entry for Syrian refugees, took a serious hit on Friday when James Robart, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Trump’s EO.
In his Friday ruling against the ban, Judge Robart said that Washington and Minnesota, the two states that filed the lawsuit, “have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the executive order.”
He argued that the immigration order would have an adverse effect on “residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations, and freedom to travel.”
Trump, enraged with the order, took to Twitter to demean the judge calling him a “so-called judge” and describing his restraining order as “ridiculous.”
Ironically, Judge James Robart is a mainstream Republican as described by his acquaintances and ex-colleagues. He was a corporate lawyer in Seattle until President George W. Bush nominated him to a seat on the federal bench vacated by Judge Thomas S. Zilly.
Lawyers in Seattle are reported to have described him as a “judge’s judge” courageous enough to pass rulings which he deems correct, as unpopular as they may be.
“A very strict federal judge who believes in the rule of law,” is how Jenny Durkan, a former United States attorney in the Obama era, described Judge Robart. “I think he truly believes in the independence of the judiciary, to the marrow of his bones,” she stated.
Michael McKay, also a former U.S. Attorney and an active Republican in the State of Washington, referred to Judge Robart as “a smart, thoughtful guy and very even-tempered,” adding that the “cream rises to the top.”
On Saturday, following the suspension of Trump’s executive order, the Department of Homeland Security resumed the standard procedure with foreign nationals, traveling to and from the country, as was in place prior to the presidential executive order.
Early Sunday morning a federal appeals court ruled against the United States Government’s request for the TRO to be lifted and the travel ban to resume. To put it simply, Judge Robart’s order of suspending the ban remains valid, for the time being. To simplify it even further, Trump’s EO took another hit.
The appeal that had been filed by the United States Justice Dept earlier on Sunday (just after midnight) was strongly worded stressing that the TRO “harms the public” and “second-guesses the President’s national security judgment.”
The Justice Department argued in its appeal that Judge Robart’s ruling against the executive order “contravenes the considered judgment of Congress that the President should have the unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens,” further arguing that the attorneys general of Washington state and Minnesota did not have a case as their alleged damages were “speculative” in nature.
Sanity has prevailed it seems – for now, at least.