Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Court rules in cases filed in Hawaii and Maryland

OLYMPIA — The U.S. Supreme Court today accepted review of cases filed in Hawaii and Maryland challenging President Trump’s revised travel ban. Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued the following statement on the court accepting the cases and its decision to partially lift injunctions blocking the executive order:

“The Trump Administration has insisted from the start that this executive order is not reviewable by the courts. As I’ve repeatedly said, this is not the law and cannot be the law. By agreeing to review these challenges, the U.S. Supreme Court signaled today that it rejects the Administration’s argument,” Ferguson said.

“The high court left in place portions of the lower court injunctions that provide important protections for individuals connected to Washington's families, schools and businesses. Although I’m deeply disappointed that the injunctions were narrowed and the travel ban will partly go into effect, the protections that remain are significant.

“My legal team and I will continue fighting to uphold the constitution and the rule of law. If any Washingtonian, employer or university in the state thinks they have a relationship to someone who is being denied access to this country, please notify my office.”

The Attorney General’s Office is evaluating what today’s ruling may mean for Washington’s case currently pending before U.S. District Court Judge James Robart. Affected Washington individuals, universities and businesses can contact the Attorney General’s Office at 1-844-323-3864.


In January, Ferguson filed a lawsuit challenging the legality and constitutionality of President Trump’s original travel ban. At the same time, he sought a temporary restraining order blocking its implementation while the case proceeds. Washington argued its challenge of the Executive Order was likely to ultimately succeed and the ban was causing extraordinary harm to Washington state and its residents, so the court should block the travel ban until the case could be ultimately decided.

U.S. District Court Judge James Robart granted the nationwide temporary restraining order. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the order. In order to grant the temporary restraining order, the judges had to find that Ferguson’s lawsuit against the Administration was likely to succeed.

Contrary to some of President Trump’s recent tweets, his Administration chose not to appeal the restraining order against the original travel ban to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On June 5, the President tweeted: “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.”

In fact, the Trump Administration dropped its appeal, and reimbursed the Washington State Attorney General’s Office for its court costs.

The Trump Administration declared its intent to rescind the first executive order and replace it with a revised travel ban.

Issued on March 6, the second travel ban made significant changes, but Ferguson and other Attorneys General believed the second ban was also unlawful and unconstitutional. Ferguson amended his lawsuit to challenge the legality of the President’s revised ban.

Judge Robart heard Washington’s challenge to the revised travel ban on March 15, but before he could rule, two judges in Maryland and Hawaii issued nationwide injunctions blocking the implementation of the ban. Judge Robart chose not to issue a ruling given that the revised travel ban was already halted.

The Trump Administration appealed those two injunctions. The Administration lost its appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which upheld the Maryland injunction, and ruled that the Executive Order “in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”

On June 12, the Administration also lost its appeal of the Hawaii injunction before the Ninth Circuit.

The Administration appealed those rulings to the U.S. Supreme Court.


The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.


Brionna Aho, Interim Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov