OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed two amici (friend of the court briefs) arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court should leave injunctions in place that block the Trump Administration’s revised travel ban.
The first brief, also joined by Attorneys General from New York, Virginia, Maryland, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia, urges the high court to leave the injunctions in place while the Court decides whether to review the lower court decisions. The second brief, joined by the same states, argues that the Court should deny the Administration’s petition for Supreme Court review of the lower court decisions.
Both briefs argue that allowing the travel ban to take effect would cause irreparable harm to Washington and its residents — including colleges and universities, medical institutions and businesses.
“Judges across the country agree that the President’s travel ban should be blocked,” Ferguson said. “I will continue to support challenges to this illegal and unconstitutional executive order as our own case against the travel ban moves forward in federal court here in Washington.”
In January, Ferguson filed a lawsuit challenging the legality 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 to the constitutionality 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." The Administration is now appealing that 4th Circuit ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, and also asking the Supreme Court to lift Hawaii’s injunction.
Meanwhile, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court, Washington’s lawsuit will continue in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, since these judicial rulings are only about whether the Executive Order is allowed to go into effect while the cases proceed on the merits.
Washington will be able to collect and present additional evidence before Judge Robart ultimately decides regarding the constitutionality of the ban.
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; email@example.com