Judge James Robart – the United States District Judge in Washington State who blocked the Donald Trump travel ban order against seven predominantly Muslim countries – is reported by The Associated Press as having a history of fighting for the underdog in both the court and private life. And State of Washington vs. Donald J. Trump was hardly the first Robart brush with controversy, given his well-known comments supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Trump Muslim Ban Ruling
Judge James Robart was thrust again into the public eye late yesterday when he handed down a decision which blocks the blanket travel ban that Donald Trump put in place January 27 to prevent people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
As reported by CNN, Judge Robart in his ruling pointed to the merit of a lawsuit against the travel ban brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota, stating that they “…have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the Executive Order.”
While the Trump administration has indicated that it will challenge this decision and attempt to get a stay so they can continue carrying out their newly minted immigration policy, at this time customs agents and immigration officials do seem to be complying with the order from the judge.
Bush Appointed Judge
James Robart – to the surprise of many – was actually nominated to the federal bench by the George Bush administration and has served as a U.S. District Court judge in the state of Washington since 2004. For almost 30 years prior to this, he worked in private practice in Seattle.
As reported by The Associated Press, despite Donald Trump’s early morning tweet attacking “so-called judge” James Robart for blocking his executive ordered travel ban – which many referred to as a “Muslim ban” – Robart received a unanimous 99-0 vote during his Senate confirmation as federal District Court judge in Washington.
Outside of Being a Judge
James Robart was lauded by the Senate committee during his confirmation hearing for his long-standing efforts to serve the needy and disadvantaged in Seattle. For instance, Robart worked tirelessly to assist disadvantaged and special needs children and teens, particularly through his support for both mental health programs and the Children’s Home Society in the city.
During the James Robart confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate, the future District Judge made it clear that his view of the judiciary and the legal system was that it should have as one of its principal goals assisting the disadvantaged.
“I was introduced to people who in many times felt that the legal system was stacked against them or was unfair. And one of the things, I think, that my time there helped accomplish was to show them that the legal system was set up for their benefit and that it could be, if properly used, an opportunity for them to seek redress if they had been wronged.”
In addition to this, prior to being appointed District Judge James Robart did a good deal of pro bono work assisting refugees attempting to legally enter the United States. So his decision regarding the travel ban is perhaps not surprising.
Black Lives Matter Decision
Before being embroiled in the Donald Trump Muslim travel ban controversy, the most talked about decision by Robart was related to a case involving the police department union in Seattle and the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the 2012 decision, Judge James Robart suggested that the police department and the police union needed to change the way they handled disciplining police for wrongdoing, pointing out that even though blacks in Seattle represented only 20% of the city’s population, they made up 41% of the people who were shot by police.
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