Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson outside the US District Courthouse in Seattle after a federal judge halted Trumps executive order.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson outside the US District Courthouse in Seattle after a federal judge halted Trump's executive order. SB

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has denied the government's request to reinstate President Trump's travel ban.

After hearing oral arguments from the Department of Justice and the Washington State Attorney General's office, the Ninth Circuit unanimously ruled to keep intact a temporary restraining order issued by Federal District Court Judge James Robart of Seattle.

The Ninth Circuit first found that Washington and Minnesota had standing to bring the case because of the harms suffered, in large part, by their universities.

The order also found that the White House's argument—that the judiciary did not have the authority to review the president's actions—was bogus:

The Government contends that the district court lacked authority to enjoin enforcement of the Executive Order because the President has “unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens.” (...) Instead, the Government has taken the position that the President’s decisions about immigration policy, particularly when motivated by national security concerns, are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections.

The order continued:

There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy. (...) Within our system, it is the role of the judiciary to interpret the law, a duty that will sometimes require the “[r]esolution of litigation challenging the constitutional authority of one of the three branches.” Zivotofsky ex rel. Zivotofsky v. Clinton, 566 U.S. 189, 196 (2012) (quoting INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 943 (1983)). We are called upon to perform that duty in this case.

Although our jurisprudence has long counseled deference to the political branches on matters of immigration and national security, neither the Supreme Court nor our court has ever held that courts lack the authority to review executive action in those arenas for compliance with the Constitution.

Indeed, federal courts routinely review the constitutionality of—and even invalidate—actions taken by the executive to promote national security, and have done so even in times of conflict.

Governor Jay Inslee issued this statement after news of the order broke: “I’m proud of that Washington is a national leader in this fight. We were the first state to stand against this executive order. But all Americans need to be willing to stand and fight for our democracy, everywhere, every time, and in every way it is threatened.”

Shortly after the Ninth Circuit issued its order, the president chimed in on Twitter:


At a press conference at the Washington State Attorney General's office, AG Bob Ferguson told reporters he believed that the future of the Constitution was at stake, too.

"Look, we respect that the president has broad authority when it comes to issuing executive orders, but they still have to follow the Constitution," Ferguson said. "That's the bottom line. And we firmly believe that this Executive Order does not."

Ferguson also said he believed the case would further be argued in Judge James Robart's courtroom in Seattle.


More updates soon...