WASHINGTON: A US judge imposed a nationwide hold on President Donald Trump’s ban on travellers and immigrants from seven Muslim countries.
US District Judge James Robart in Seattle ruled that Washington state and Minnesota had standing to challenge Trump’s order, which government lawyers disputed, and said they showed their case was likely to succeed.
“The state has met its burden in demonstrating immediate and irreparable injury,” Robart said. “This TRO (temporary restraining order) is granted on a nationwide basis …”
Trump’s order last week sparked protests nationwide and confusion at airports as some travellers were detained. The White House has argued that it will make the country safer.
Washington became the first state to sue over the order that temporarily bans travel for people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen and suspends the US refugee program.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the travel ban significantly harms residents and effectively mandates discrimination. Minnesota joined the lawsuit two days later. After the ruling, Ferguson said people from the affected countries can now apply for entry to the US.
“Judge Robart’s decision, effective immediately … puts a halt to President Trump’s unconstitutional and unlawful executive order,” Ferguson said. “The law is a powerful thing it has the ability to hold everybody accountable to it, and that includes the president of the United States.”
The judge’s written order, released late Friday, said it’s not the court’s job to “create policy or judge the wisdom of any particular policy promoted by the other two branches” of government.
The court’s job “is limited to ensuring that the actions taken by the other two branches comport with our country’s laws”.
Robart ordered federal defendants “and their respective officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys and persons acting in concert or participation with them are hereby enjoined and restrained from” enforcing the executive order.