Donald Trump’s unconstitutional and discriminatory travel ban will remain unenforceable for the time being, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.
In a unanimous decision, a three judge panel ruled that Trump’s regime “has not
shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury.” The decision by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart to grant a temporary restraining order thereby stands.
“No one is above the law, not even the President,” said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a statement lauding the decision, reiterating comments that he made last week. “The President should withdraw this flawed, rushed and dangerous Executive Order, which caused chaos across the country. If he refuses, I will continue our work to hold him accountable to the Constitution.”
“Bottom line: This is a complete victory for the State of Washington,” Ferguson added during a press conference following the release of the ruling. “We are a nation of laws. And those laws apply to everyone in the country.”
Ferguson noted that the 9th Circuit had expressly rejected the inJustice Department’s argument that Trump’s order was unreviewable.
“There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability,” the judges wrote, “which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.” They pointed readers to Boumediene v. Bush (2008), “rejecting the idea that, even by congressional statute, Congress and the Executive could eliminate federal court habeas jurisdiction over enemy combatants, because the ‘political branches’ lack “the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will”.
“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… We are called upon to perform that duty
in this case,” the 9th Circuit judges declared.
“Today’s decision to uphold Judge Robart’s order is a victory for Washington State and indeed the entire country,” said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.
“The decision underscores the serious constitutional issues with President Trump’s executive order and emphasizes what Attorney General Ferguson has said throughout this case: that no one is above the law, not even the president.”
“Since the restraining order was issued, in our state we’ve seen a Somali man reunited with his wife, an American citizen. An Iraqi global health leader able to rejoin his colleagues at the University of Washington. And a graduate student studying HIV vaccines to return to continue his important work. 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.”
“I am glad the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals thinks Washington state got it right,” said Senator Maria Cantwell. “Thanks to the Washington State Attorney General, Washington state businesses and all involved in the U.S. District Court case, these important Constitutional issues will be addressed. And in the meantime, travel will continue and families can be reunited.”
“Today’s ruling heartens all who believe in the rule of law,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The actions by this president run counter to our community’s core values: compassion, opportunity, and equity. We will not rest until this wrong-headed executive action is permanently reversed.”
“This is a big win today for the Constitution,” said Washington State Democratic Chair Tina Podlodowsk, echoing the statements of other Democratic leaders.
“As a daughter of refuges from World War II, I want to personally thank those who led this effort – Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Governor Jay Inslee, and Solicitor General Noah Purcell, and of course everyone in the Office of the Attorney General. Their dedication to human rights and equality has made possible this win today.”
“I especially want to thank the millions of Americans – Democrats and Republicans alike – who have stood up in protest of Trump’s order,” she added.
“This is not just a movement of lawyers and elected officials – this is a movement of the people. It’s inspiring to see how the American people react to injustice perpetrated against our Muslim brothers and sisters. The record-breaking crowds marching in the streets are a testament to America’s commitment to our values, our constitution, and to the promise engraved on the Statute of Liberty, and no executive order from the White House can shatter that.
“While this case isn’t over yet, every court victory we have along the way makes it clearer that our law and Constitution stand on the side of justice and equality – not on the side of Trump.”
NPI thanks the 9th Circuit for its sensible ruling today and urges Justice Anthony Kennedy and his seven colleagues on the Supreme Court to sustain it should Trump order the Justice Department to appeal.