A single judge in Seattle can prevent even the President of the United States from violating the Constitution. That’s what happened this weekend when federal District Court Judge James Robart put a stay on the so-called “travel ban” executive order on Friday.
The decision won Robart and the judiciary praise from Rhode Island senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse over the weekend.
Said Whitehouse: “Judge Robart’s decision underscores how rash and destructive President Trump’s executive order has been. The Court found no support for the President’s claim that banning refugees and legal immigrants from certain Muslim countries makes Americans safer. Indeed it has not. If anything, this half-baked effort has given the likes of ISIS its opening line in its sales pitch to recruits, undermining the image of America as a welcoming and pluralistic country and reinforcing ISIS’s narrative of the western world’s war on Islam.”
Reed said: “I am pleased the courts have rejected President Trump’s ineffective and unconstitutional executive order. Religious freedom is one of our most cherished and fundamental principles. The President’s executive order deserved to be halted because it undermines American values and compromises our ability to fight terrorism. The ban itself was poorly vetted and apparently written without input from senior leaders in the Defense Department, State Department, and Homeland Security.”
The travel ban, also referred to as the Muslim ban, prevented people born in one of seven Muslim-majority nations from traveling to and from the United States, regardless of their immigration status. It inspired epic protests at airports and State Houses across the country, as well as a litany of court rulings limiting its effects. Judge Robart’s decision was the first to put a national halt on the ruling.
The Trump administration says the ban is necessary for national security. Both Reed and Whitehouse said it would make America more vulnerable to terrorist threats.
Senators Reed and Whitehouse also chided Trump for his response to the ruling. Upon learning a Seattle judge stopped his executive order, Trump tweeted, “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”
Whitehouse said, “Contrary to the President’s musings on Twitter, the Bush appointee who issued this order is very much a judge. President Trump may not like it, but our courts’ authority is real and he should learn to respect it.”
Said Reed, “Like all Americans, the President is free to disagree with court rulings. But when President Trump personally criticizes judges like this he is really insulting the entire judiciary. The President should refrain from these types of personal insults. We have a system of government built on checks and balances, and everyone including the President must respect that principle.”
The Trump Administration is appealing the decision, but worth noting the Ninth Cirtcuit Court of Appeals declined to halt the stay over the weekend.