Federal judge temporarily halts Trump’s Muslim ban nationwide

“For me, it’s not about who occupies the White House. What matters to me is the rule of law.”

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, center, talks to reporters as Solicitor General Noah Purcell, second from right, looks on, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, following a hearing in federal court in Seattle. CREDIT: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, center, talks to reporters as Solicitor General Noah Purcell, second from right, looks on, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, following a hearing in federal court in Seattle. CREDIT: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

On Friday, a federal judge in Washington temporarily blocked enforcement of Trump’s Muslim ban across the country.

Judge James Robart granted the order after a lawsuit from the states of Washington and Minnesota argued the ban was unconstitutional.

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“We have a variety of constitutional arguments that include, for example, violations of due process, equal protection, violations of first amendment establishment cause in relation to religion,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “In addition, we alleged violations of statutes like, it may sound technical, but the Administrative Procedures Act… We have two different buckets of claims, and the judge felt we were likely to prevail on the merits, when he ultimately decides on that, and that was part of why he granted our temporary restraining order this evening.”

“For me, it’s not about who occupies the White House. What matters to me is the rule of law, Anderson,” Ferguson added. “We’re a nation of laws, and I don’t care if it’s President Obama or President Trump. If you violate the constitution and it harms my constituents, and the people in my state, I’m not going to put up with it. I’m going to hold you accountable, and that’s the power of the law.”

Robart, who was appointed to his post by George W. Bush, still needs to make a final decision on the ban, but the temporary restraining order is a good sign of what that decision may be.

Despite Robart’s order, the White House said it will continue to defend the ban. “At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the president, which we believe is lawful and appropriate,” a statement read. The White House then issued a second statement with the same wording, removing the word “outrageous.”

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Under the “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” which Trump signed last Friday, nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are barred from entering the United States for at least the next 90 days. All refugee admission is halted for the next 120 days, and all Syrian refugees in particular are banned from resettling in the country indefinitely.

Since Trump signed the order, it has been utter chaos. Protests sprung up across the country, at least 60,000 valid visas were revoked, and it took five days for the White House to clarify that the order will not apply to legal permanent residents. Three days after he signed the ban, Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates because she refused to enforce it. An earlier lawsuit from the ACLU led to a temporary restraining order preventing airports from deporting those detained as a result of the ban.

The ban has been tearing apart families everywhere.

This piece was updated to reflect the White House’s response to the order.