A federal judge in Seattle has issued an injunction temporarily halting President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
U.S. District Judge James Robart issued the injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson earlier this week.
Trump’s controversial executive order, announced last Friday, banned travel from Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. It also halted the flow of refugees from Syria and Iraq for 120 days while the Department of Homeland Security develops better vetting methods.
As The Seattle Times notes, Ferguson argued in a legal filing that Trump’s travel ban violates the constitutional rights of Muslim immigrants. The Democrat cited Trump’s comments during the campaign about banning Muslims from entering the U.S.
“Federal courts have no more sacred role than protecting marginalized groups against irrational, discriminatory conduct,” the court filing reads.
The Trump administration asserted in court papers filed on Thursday that the Republican has rightfully exercised authorities granted to the executive branch.
“Every President over the last thirty years has invoked this authority to suspend or impose restrictions on the entry of certain aliens or classes of aliens, in some instances including classifications based on nationality,” reads a filing from the Department of Justice.
In a statement after Robart’s ruling, Ferguson asserted that “the Constitution prevailed today.”
“No one is above the law — not even the president,” he said, according to Fox News.
“This ruling shuts down the (president’s) executive order immediately — shuts it down — so people can travel like they did before,” Ferguson added.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement late Friday saying that the Justice Department will file an emergency stay against Robart’s order “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,” Spicer said.
“The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people.”
The Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection, the agencies that are in charge of enforcing Trump’s order, have not commented on the ruling.
Ferguson’s lawsuit was joined by the state of Minnesota and several corporations, including Amazon.
Robart is a George W. Bush appointee. He made national headlines last year when he declared during a hearing in a case involving policing practices in Seattle that “Black lives matter.” He is believed to be the first federal judge to cite the activist phrase during from the federal bench. (RELATED: Federal Judge Declares ‘Black Lives Matter’ From The Bench)