A federal judge in Washington has joined several of his counterparts across the country in ruling against the federal government’s executive order that restricts citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
In the suit, which was filed by the State of Washington earlier in the week, officials from Expedia and Amazon filed formal legal declarations saying that their employees are directly affected by the President Donald Trump’s policy. Expedia further explained that its business interests would be negatively impacted if the executive order was allowed to stand.
On Friday afternoon, US District Judge James L. Robart, who was nominated to the court by President George W. Bush in 2003, ruled against the government and granted a temporary restraining order, effective nationwide. This restraining order can still be overturned or altered later.
“The Constitution prevailed today,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement sent to reporters. “No one is above the law—not even the president.”
A federal judge in Los Angeles granted a similar restraining order earlier in the week. So far, the government has lost all of its attempts to block such a restraining order. However, also on Friday, in yet another related case, a federal judge in Massachusetts declined to renew a temporary restraining order, which is set to expire on Sunday.
According to the Seattle Times, over 21,000 Washington residents were born in Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. In court filings, state lawyers say that over 7,000 state residents are affected by the ban.
Earlier in the day, government lawyers in a related case in Virginia said that at least 60,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 people have had their visas revoked as a result of the executive order.
Federal lawyers had argued that Washington did not have standing to sue, noting that “many of its claimed harms, moreover, simply do not exist.” The judge did not find this argument persuasive.
Shortly after Judge Robart’s ruling, the State of Hawaii filed a similar lawsuit against the Trump Administration, although that lawsuit has not yet drawn the formal support of any Hawaiian tech companies.
UPDATE 9:24pm ET: Justin Cox, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, who is representing plaintiffs in a similar case in New York, told: “The motion for a TRO was filed before the news re: visa revocations had come out, so it probably won’t require [Department of State] to restore those. But it should permit anyone currently with a visa (or other travel doc) to enter. Actual impact TBD, to be honest.”
UPDATE 10:05pm ET: The White House sent reporters this statement, saying: “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. The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people.”
11 minutes later, the White House sent the same statement again, removing the word “outrageous.”