Federal judge in Seattle expedites case against President Trump’s travel ban

Judge Robart, left. and President Donald Trump

SEATTLE — A federal judge who initially blocked President Trump’s temporary travel ban ruled in favor of Washington state once again.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart ruled to expedite the case in his courtroom.

This means the Attorney General’s Office will not have to deal with the burden of a preliminary injunction phase, which was next on the schedule. The lawsuit will head straight to trial.

Robart says when a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case last week, they treated the hearing like a preliminary injunction. Robart says that gives his court the right to skip the preliminary injunction.

The three appellate court judges refused to reinstate the travel ban last week after Robart issued a temporary restraining order against the president’s executive order on February 3rd.

As the case moves forward in Robart’s federal courtroom in Seattle, many immigrants across the country remain on edge.

For many immigrants, America symbolizes hope.

“The first time in six years felt home, safe,” Yara Buker said.

Journalist Buker fled Libya fearing for her life after losing relatives to ISIS.

“I fled oppression and justice to live in a proper way, I appreciate this opportunity so so much,” Buker said.

That appreciation quickly turned to anxiety for many immigrants with Trump's temporary ban on Libya and six other Muslim-majority countries.

Although Washington state has so far convinced four federal judges to block the president's policies, it's only a temporary restraining order.

“We will continue to go through the court process and, ultimately, I have no doubt we will win that particular case,” Trump said.

Trump has indicated he might issue a new executive order on travel and immigration in the coming days, he has yet to concede to the challenge to his current order, meaning the future of immigration in this country could come down to Robart.

“It's an unusual experience to have a case essentially so important, so many people, not just in our state but around the country,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

Ferguson says he will use every legal tool and he has not ruled out deposing the president under oath.

The AG office could also seek documents and emails from Trump’s administration. The department has said throughout the process they don’t believe the travel ban is strictly based on national security. By using the discovery process, they say, they could find the president’s full motivation.

If the case continues in Robart's courtroom, legal experts say the judge could pick apart the states’ case, and we could see different outcomes for people depending on their immigration status.

“It’s unlikely everything in the executive order is unconstitutional; that’s not going to happen. They will probably selectively invalidate certain provisions,” Seattle University law professor Won Kidane said.

For Buker, who is here through a student visa, she’s decided to postpone any trips to see her family.

“It’s unfair to put us all under the same blanket. I see myself as a very peaceful person. I am nowhere near a terrorist,” Buker said.