Federal court issues nationwide injunction against Trump Muslim travel ban executive order (updated)

Editor’s Note: There are two events today in Tucson that you may want to attend:

Saturday, February 4, 10:00 a.m.: Open Forum on Trump’s recent immigration and refugee executive orders, at the Muslim Community Center of Tucson, 5100 N. Kevy Place, Tucson. Come hear lawyers who specialize in these areas discuss this executive orders and what legal changes Americans could expect to see within the next four years. Isabel Garcia will make the opening remarks and moderate the discussion, Tarik Sultan will be leading the conversation on “immigration law in the Trump era,” Thabet Khalidi in “Civil Rights and Wrongs,” and Jose Vasquez in the “Use and misuse of criminal law against targeted minorities.”

Saturday, February 4, 2:00 p.m.: Grassroots Citizens Rally Supporting Refugee Resttlement, at El Presidio Plaza Park, 175 W. Alameda Street, Tucson. This free event is sponsored by We The People, Tucson. Is this the new “Great America”? It infringes on Tucson’s “Immigrant Friendly” status. It stops/reduces refugee resettlement in America. It blocks refugees from Syria. It bans visitors from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen. It it is a penstroke away from becoming an executive order. Come help organize a greater voice against unAmerican injustices being instituted without representation. Join in raising voices against human injustice.

The Washington Post reports, today, Federal judge temporarily blocks Trump’s entry order nationwide:

A federal judge in Washington state on Friday temporarily blocked enforcement of President Trump’s controversial ban on entry to the United States nationwide, and airlines planned to begin allowing passengers from banned countries to board, according to a person familiar with the matter.

[It is not unusual for district courts to issue nationwide injunctions blocking executive actions, and the federal government must obey such injunctions even when other district courts have declined to issue injunctions in similar cases.]

Following the ruling, government authorities immediately began communicating with airlines and taking steps that would allow travel by those previously barred from doing so, according to a U.S. official. At the same time, though, the White House said in a statement that the Justice Department would “at the earliest possible time” file for an emergency stay of the “outrageous” ruling from the judge. Minutes later, it issued a similar statement omitting the word “outrageous.”

The federal judge’s ruling, which was broader than similar ones before it, set up a high-stakes legal confrontation between the new president and the judicial branch over his temporary ban on entry by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries as well as refugees. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart wrote that “fundamental” to the court’s work was “a vigilant recognition that it is but one of three equal branches of our federal government.”

“The court concludes that the circumstances brought before it today are such that it must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government,” he wrote.

[Judge Robart temporarily barred the administration from enforcing two parts of Mr. Trump’s order: its 90-day suspension of entry into the United States of people from the seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and its limits on accepting refugees, including “any action that prioritizes the refugee claims of certain religious minorities.”

Judge Robart made clear that his order applied nationwide, citing a similar nationwide injunction from a federal district court in Texas that had blocked President Barack Obama’s plan to shield some undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to legally work in the United States.]

Robart granted a request from lawyers for the state of Washington who had asked him to stop the government from acting on critical sections of Trump’s order. Justice and State department officials had revealed earlier Friday that about 60,000 — and possibly as many as 100,000 — visas already have been provisionally revoked as a result of Trump’s order. A U.S. official said that because of the court case, officials would examine the revoking of those visas so that people would be allowed to travel.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson hailed the case as “the first of its kind” and declared that it “shuts down the executive order immediately.” Robart, a judge appointed by George W. Bush, said in his written order that U.S. officials should stop enforcing the key aspects of the ban: the halting of entry by refugees and citizens from certain countries. He did not specifically address the matter of those whose visas already had been revoked.

* * *

Immigration lawyers said Friday night that they were still assessing the Washington case but were heartened by it.

“The order makes it clear that all of the main provisions of the executive order cannot be enforced at this time,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “That means that a lot will have to change immediately, and the government will have to make clear how they intend to follow the order with respect to all of the ways in which immigrants here and abroad are being affected at the moment.”

* * *

Washington and Minnesota had filed a broad legal challenge to Trump’s order, alleging it was “separating families, harming thousands of the States’ residents, damaging the States’ economies, hurting State-based companies, and undermining both States’ sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.” Jeffrey P. Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post and a Washington state resident, has spoken out against the ban.

In the past several days, federal judges in New York, California, Massachusetts and Virginia have issued rulings temporarily blocking aspects of the Trump order — though the orders all seemed to be limited to people who had made their way to U.S. airports, or, in Virginia’s case, to certain people.

The New York and Massachusetts rulings both blocked the government from detaining or deporting anyone from the seven affected countries who could legally enter the U.S., and the Massachusetts ruling added the critical phrase “absent the executive order.” In California, a judge declared that U.S. officials were also prevented from “blocking” people from entering who had a valid visa.

This ruling is temporary, and the ultimate question of whether Trump’s executive order will pass constitutional muster will fall to higher-level courts. Legal analysts have said the ban could be difficult to permanently undo because the president has broad authority to set immigration policy:

Civil liberties lawyers assert, the executive order temporarily barring the entry of refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries is unconstitutional. But legal analysts say they might have a tough time proving that in court, even with early legal victories and swelling support from people across the country.

Analysts across the political spectrum say that the president has vast authority to bar the entry of people to the United States, and to do so without the consent of other branches of government.

The law states that if the president finds that “the entry of any aliens” would be “detrimental” to the country’s interests, he has broad power to impose restrictions.

Leon Fresco, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Immigration Litigation in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department, said the same power that gives the president authority to do that seems to give President Trump the authority to enforce his ban.

His view is not universal. Acting attorney general Sally Yates, an Obama holdover, declared this week she would not defend the order — a decision that led to her firing — because she was not convinced it was lawful. The ACLU and others have filed several potential class-action claims around the country alleging individual cases of wrongdoing, and attorneys general in four states moved this week to join the burgeoning court battle. Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, who owns The Washington Post, has spoken out against the order.

Civil liberties and immigration lawyers are waging a wide-reaching public and legal resistance campaign — hoping to push the judiciary to overturn what they call antiquated legal precedents and toss the order.

Federal judges have consistently sided with the challengers in early suits, producing a nationwide stoppage on Customs and Border Protection detaining or deporting green-card holders or those with valid visas who arrive at U.S. airports.

A panel of United Nations human rights experts said Wednesday that the order violates the United States’ international human rights obligations. State Department diplomats have signed a memo objecting to Trump’s order, arguing that it will not deter attacks on American soil. After the order first came down, protests erupted at airports across the country. The Homeland Security inspector general announced late Wednesday he would investigation the order’s implementation.

The mass action, analysts said, is intended both to prevent the White House from trying to marginalize individual judges who rule against the administration, as well to show the many other lives affected by the order. That might push the judiciary to a tipping point to conclude that precedents shaped in a pre-civil rights era — founded on rulings such as one upholding the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and another approving the expulsion of communists — no longer apply.

“Judges look at the newspapers, too,” said Peter J. Spiro, a professor of immigration and constitutional law at Temple University. “The fact that they see spontaneous public unrest about the order, that empowers the courts in pushing back against the administration and finding a way to striking down the law.”

Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said in an interview this week he believes the order violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, international treaties and the First Amendment. Of particular significance, he said, is an exception to the refu­gee ban for those who are members of a minority religion and who are fleeing a country.

That, Romero and others say, seems to favor non-Muslims. And Trump himself said in a recent interview with CBN News that persecuted Christians would be given priority.

“We’re confident that we can win, and fortunately, President Trump and those around him make it very easy to reveal that bigotry,” said lawyer Gadeir Abbas, who is among those involved in a broad legal challenge to the order.

The ACLU is still haggling with the government over a list of people who were detained when the order first went into effect over the weekend. The government said late Tuesday no one was being detained, though some people might be facing extra processing. The ACLU wants an accounting of those who were once held and those who might have been removed after it filed its lawsuit.

There also remain questions about implementation. Lawyers recently obtained a letter from the State Department that provisionally revokes all nonimmigrant and immigrant visas of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — which they say demonstrates the effect of the order in a way they did not previously understand.

“It’s shocking, to say the least,” said Susan Cohen, who is working with the ACLU on a case in Massachusetts.

* * *

The lawsuits challenging the executive order allege that it is essentially a tool for discrimination that damages states’ interests and violates people’s constitutional rights. The problem, analysts said, is that some, though not all, case law suggests noncitizens outside the United States have no such rights. And in a way, all immigration law is essentially discriminatory.

* * *

Fresco, the Obama Justice Department lawyer, said that although the challengers might argue otherwise, courts are likely to use a low standard to determine whether the order passes muster, essentially asking whether it has any rational basis. The administration, he said, will likely argue that the threat of terrorist attacks justifies the order.

* * *

Fresco said lawyers for the other side, though, could present evidence that public safety was not the order’s real purpose — pointing to the chaotic rollout and even public comments by those associated with the administration. Trump promised on the campaign trail a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — and that pledge remains on the campaign website. Former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a vigorous Trump supporter, used the term “Muslim ban” — a term Trump now takes issue with — in talking about the order’s origin in a recent television interview.

“I’ll tell you the whole history of it,” Giuliani said on Fox News. “So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’ ”

Additional reporting from The New York Times

UPDATE: Our Dear Leader Donald Trump once again has denigrated a trial judge who ruled against him in another Twitter troll tirade. ‘So-Called’ Judge Criticized by Trump Is Known as a Mainstream Republican.

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals early Sunday mornig rejected a request by the Justice Department to immediately restore President Trump’s immigration order. Appeals Court Rejects Request to Immediately Restore Travel Ban:

A federal appeals court early Sunday rejected a request by the Justice Department to immediately restore President Trump’s targeted travel ban, deepening a legal showdown over his authority to tighten the nation’s borders in the name of protecting Americans from terrorism.

In the legal back and forth over the travel ban, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco said a reply from the Trump administration was now due on Monday.

The ruling meant that travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — as well as vetted refugees from all nations could, for now, continue to enter the country.

* * *

The Justice Department’s filing sought to have the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit block the Seattle judge’s decision and asked that the lower court’s ruling be stayed pending the appeal.

In its argument for an appeal, the Justice Department had said the president had an “unreviewable authority” to suspend the entry of any class of foreigners. It said the ruling by Judge Robart was too broad, “untethered” to the claims of the State of Washington, and in conflict with a ruling by another federal district judge, in Boston, who had upheld the order.

The Ninth Circuit court moved quickly to reject the administration’s appeal, a measure of the urgency and intense interest in the case.

6 responses to “Federal court issues nationwide injunction against Trump Muslim travel ban executive order (updated)

  1. For Sure Not Tom

    Wait until the country gets a load of Sebastian Gorka.

    Racism has moved into the White House like black mold.

  2. Our system of checks and balances is going to be tested. Right now it appears our only hope is the judicial branch.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      We need the judicial branch and the rest of the world to resist President Bannon.

      The GOTeaP blocked Garland and a few hundred federal judgeships under Obama. They gerrymandered and suppressed voting.

      They’ve spent decades disparaging the media, government employees, science, and academia.

      They’ve set the table for a White Nationalist coup, they know it, and with few exceptions, they seem to be okay with it.

      Bannon says the he wins when the other side doesn’t know what he’s doing.

      Sucks to be him, because this ain’t Germany in the 1930’s.

    • So, what happens if (when?) Shadow President Bannon pulls an Andrew Jackson and tells the Court to enforce their own ruling?

      • Well, it depends at least in part on the agencies responsible for enforcing either the executive order or the court’s ruling. Regarding these banned travelers, the State Department decided to support the federal judge’s ruling.

        Bannon and Trump may soon find out that most Americans do not want to take the country and the entire world back to 1940.

        However, what is happening now is so outrageous that predictions can be way off.