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Judge keeps Washington travel ban case on hold

This March 12, 2013, file still image taken from United States Courts shows Judge James Robart listening to a case at Seattle Courthouse in Seattle. Robart has granted an extension to the Justice Department in a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump's immigration order is blocking efforts by legal residents to reunite with their children who are trapped in war-torn countries. (Associated Press / United States Courts)
This March 12, 2013, file still image taken from United States Courts shows Judge James Robart listening to a case at Seattle Courthouse in Seattle. Robart has granted an extension to the Justice Department in a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump's immigration order is blocking efforts by legal residents to reunite with their children who are trapped in war-torn countries. (Associated Press / United States Courts)

Washington won’t get a chance anytime soon to go another round in federal court with the Trump administration over the latest travel ban.

A federal judge in Seattle continued to push the pause button Friday in the challenge that Washington and five other states have to the president’s most recent executive order on immigration. U.S. District Court Judge James Robart said the case before him is similar enough to one in Hawaii that he would “conserve resources” and see what the appeals court says about the other case.

Robart blocked President Donald Trump’s first set of restrictions on immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries in February after Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Robart’s injunction, and Trump signed a new executive order, which was also challenged and blocked by judges in Maryland and Hawaii.

Those court orders did everything Washington was asking, so Robart put the original case on hold. The second set of travel restrictions expired while still blocked by the court.

Last month Trump signed a third order, which added restrictions on immigrants from North Korea and Venezuela. It was blocked again by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland.

Washington and the other states involved in the initial challenge wanted Robart also to issue an order blocking the third set of restrictions. They argued the case in Seattle had some differences and they have many people who would be harmed if the current injunctions are overturned on appeal.

But Robart said the claims by Washington and other states aren’t substantially different from what was presented in the latest case in Hawaii. They could always file their evidence with the appeal as a “friend of the court.”

As long as the injunction in the Hawaii case remains in place, any action on the case in Seattle will remain on hold, the judge said. “This stay will permit the court to conserve its resources and to benefit from any 9th Circuit rulings regarding (the third travel restrictions),” he wrote.

If circumstances change, the states or the federal government are able to come back and ask him to take up the case, he added.


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