A three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in favor of Washington and Minnesota in their lawsuit against the federal government. (Read the PDF of the decision here) The ruling means the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by Judge James Robart blocking the implementation of President Trump’s travel/immigration ban is still in effect. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called it “a complete and total repudiation of the Trump administration’s legal position in this case.” (Watch the video here)
Toobin also pointed out that the three judges who made this decision were appointed by Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, so there is no political division. In addition, Judge Robart was a George W. Bush appointee, meaning that four federal judges from both parties have ruled unanimously against the administration in two separate decisions. If the administration appeals to the Supreme Court and the justices split 4-4, the Ninth Circuit opinion would stand, though not with the weight of a Supreme Court ruling decided by a majority of the full court. Keep in mind there are other lawsuits that have been filed against the administration in other states, so this is not over by any means.
Here is a sampling of reactions to the Ninth Circuit’s decision:
A late night decision (Read the PDF here) from a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals came down in the early hours of Sunday morning:
Judge James L. Robart issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the nationwide implementation of President Trump’s executive order on immigration, handing Trump’s opponents an early legal victory in the litigation surrounding the controversial order.
The TRO will remain in place while Robart considers Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit against the administration, which challenges several provisions of the executive order. (Read the PDF document here) One key excerpt:
The court finds that the States 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. The Executive Order affects the States’ residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations, and freedom to travel. These harms extend to the States by virtue of their roles as parens patriae of the residents living within their borders. In addition, the States themselves are harmed by virtue of the damage that implementation of the Executive Order has inflicted upon the operations and missions of their public universities and other institutions of higher learning, as well as injury to the States’ operations, tax bases, and public funds. These harms are significant and ongoing. Accordingly, the court concludes that a TRO against Federal Defendants is necessary until such time as the court can hear and decide the States’ request for a preliminary injunction.
The White House reaction:
The President’s reaction:
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed an amended complaint to his state’s original lawsuit against the Trump administration, which adds Minnesota – and its attorney general, Lori Swanson – as plaintiffs.
Swanson said in a statement, “It does not pass constitutional muster, is inconsistent with our history as a nation, and undermines our national security… America can keep its people safe without sacrificing bedrock constitutional principles.”
There will be a hearing at a federal court in Seattle tomorrow (Friday) for lawyers representing Washington and the federal government. At issue will be whether or not the federal government should suspend implementation of the administration’s executive order nationwide immediately. A ruling from Judge James Robart (a George W. Bush appointee) could come as early as 2:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.