At least two lawsuits were filed Monday (Jan. 30) against against President’s Trump’s Friday’s “Muslim ban” executive order.
In Seattle, Washington, State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that he is challenging President Donald Trump’s executive order banning Muslim immigrants and refugees, calling it unconstitutional and asking for a temporary restraining order.
In Washington DC, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of more than 20 “John Doe” individuals who say President Donald Trump’s unilateral “Muslim ban” action is unconstitutional. CAIR lists Trump, new Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the State Department and the director of national intelligence as defendants in its lawsuit.
Washington State files lawsuit
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement that “No one is above the law — not even the President.” “And in the courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails. It’s the Constitution.”
In documents filed Jan. 30 against Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and high-ranking Trump Administration officials, Ferguson argues that the order violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, infringes individuals’ constitutional right to due process and contravenes the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.
On Jan. 28, a federal judge in Brooklyn issued an order enjoining the Trump Administration from enforcing its Executive Order as to certain individuals who have arrived in the United States. Ferguson’s office states that the attorney general’s lawsuit is broader in scope and seeks to invalidate entire sections of the Executive Order nationwide.
Ferguson’s complaint asserts that the President’s actions are “separating Washington families, harming thousands of Washington residents, damaging Washington’s economy, hurting Washington-based companies, and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”
Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Washington Governor Jay Inslee joined the Attorney General Ferguson at the press conference. He said:”This is unAmerican, it is wrong, and it will not stand.” “The clear intent of this executive order is to discriminate against one faith amongst all God’s children.” Asked if he fears retaliation from the Trump administration, Inslee said “there’s no predicting this president, but we will not yield, we will not be leveraged, we will not be threatened, we will not be intimidated.”
Inslee said he learned the hard way over the years “you do not back down to bullies.” Ferguson said he has been in contact with other attorneys general but at this point Washington state was acting on its own regarding the legal action.
Microsoft, Amazon join in lawsuit
Tech companies are joining forces with the Washington state government to fight against Donald Trump’s recent immigration-related executive order.
Now, at least three tech companies — Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia — are joining that legal fight. A Microsoft spokesman told Reuters that the company is providing information about the effect of the order in order to “be supportive.” They also would “be happy to testify further if needed.”
Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia are all based in the Seattle, Washington area
Both Amazon and Expedia are also preparing statements that demonstrate the order’s negative impact on their business. In an email to employees, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote that the company’s legal team “has prepared a declaration of support for the Washington State Attorney General who will be filing suit against the order.” They are considering other legal options, as well. Expedia hasn’t publicly released its statement but Ferguson cited the company’s help in a press release.
Other tech company executives, ranging from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, have spoken out against the order. Yet only Amazon, Microsoft, and Expedia — all of which are based in the Seattle area in Washington — are in a position to support this particular legal challenge to the immigration ban, at least until more lawsuits begin popping up around the country.
CAIR files broadest lawsuit
In Washington DC., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil advocacy group, Monday filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of more than 20 “John Doe” individuals who say President Donald Trump’s unilateral “Muslim ban” action is unconstitutional. “Our First Amendment is under attack.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Virginia, states that the order is unconstitutional because its apparent purpose and underlying motive is to ban people of the Islamic faith in Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
“It is not a matter of legality; it is a matter of morality and there is a big difference. If you want to play it by law, yes slavery was legal, but it was wrong. Preventing women from voting in America was legal, but it was wrong. Preventing refugees from entering now is wrong,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
“Our First Amendment is under attack. We, as attorneys, are foot soldiers of the American Constitution and took an oath to protect all from being targeted by the government because of their faith,” Shereef Akeel, an attorney who is co-counsel on the lawsuit, said in a press release.
Mr Trump’s order, officially titled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals”, sparked a massive surge of protests on Saturday and Sunday after more than 100 travellers were held in airport detention centres despite having been vetted and approved by the US government prior to their journey to the US.
The lawsuit comes as the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, ordered Justice Department lawyers to not defend the controversial executive order in court. “For as long as I am the acting attorney general,” Ms Yates said, “the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defence of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”
Not surprisingly, Sally Yates was fired by the Trump administration.
Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) email: asghazali2011 (@) gmail.com