Wash. Judge Decides To Pause State’s Travel Ban Suit
A Washington federal judge on May 17 agreed to stay the state of Washington’s suit over President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, pointing to the ongoing appeal of Hawaii’s suit in the Ninth Circuit.
Judge James L. Robart granted the government’s motion for a stay pending the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Hawaii v. Trump, with the judge noting that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling is “likely to provide guidance.”
“Awaiting the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in that case will promote the orderly course of justice and judicial economy,” Judge Robart wrote. “In addition, defendants have demonstrated they face hardship or inequity in the absence of a stay in light of plaintiffs’ anticipated sweeping discovery and the unique nature of this case involving the chief executive.”
When it came to discovery matters, the judge did, however, acknowledge that the plaintiffs, which include the state of Washington, also “raise legitimate concerns” about the need to get information and “preserve evidence from third parties.”
He therefore said that if the plaintiffs don’t think that simply sending letters will take care of the issue of “third-party evidentiary preservation,” the court would allow them to “seek a limited modification of the stay order” to let the plaintiffs send subpoenas.
“The issuance of subpoenas to third parties would provide the force of a court order with respect to the preservation of this evidence and should assuage plaintiffs’ fears that potentially relevant evidence might be destroyed,” Judge Robart wrote.
The ruling comes after the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in an appeal over President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, with some judges taking a skeptical view of the government’s arguments, including one who raised the spectre of an infamous executive order tied to the internment of Japanese Americans.
The latest travel ban executive order, which the president signed March 6, seeks to block nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. However, a Hawaii federal judge halted it March 15, citing multiple detailed statements from Trump and others about the ban that indicated a religiously motivated purpose.