Washington state’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, is asking a federal court to confirm that the temporary restraining order his office obtained last month to block President Donald Trump’s original travel ban also applies to this week’s revised executive order.
During a press conference Thursday, Ferguson said he will continue to pursue his lawsuit which claims Trump’s immigration orders are unconstitutional and harm Washington state’s public institutions, businesses, and individuals.
The initial executive order, for which Ferguson obtained an injunction from U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, temporarily banned the citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. The revised order removed Iraq from that list, and made exemptions for permanent residents and those already holding visas.
During the press conference, Ferguson said that the spirit and many provisions of the order remain unchanged and that the President does not have the authority to decide whether the TRO is void.
“There are still constitutional problems with core provisions of this revised executive order and the president does not get to decide if a new executive order is different enough…the court decides,” Ferguson said Thursday.
When Ferguson’s office filed its initial lawsuit, Washington’s technology community quickly rallied behind it. Amazon and Expedia issued formal declarations of support almost immediately, saying the executive order harmed employees, recruiting efforts, and business operations. More than 100 companies followed suit, backing Washington with amicus briefs.
Oregon, Minnesota, and New York have joined Washington as plaintiffs in the lawsuit and 18 states signed an amicus brief supporting the case.
Ferguson told GeekWire that conversations with Washington’s corporations are ongoing and more displays of support could be coming over the next few days.
“We are in conversations with businesses in Washington and they certainly feel like it does affect them,” Solicitor General Noah Purcell said of the revised executive order, during Thursday’s press conference.
Ferguson is optimistic about the lawsuit and continued enforcement of the TRO. He said he expects the Trump administration to respect “the importance of the rule of law.”
“It holds everybody to it,” Ferguson said. “Even if you’re the president. Especially if you’re the president. You cannot tweet your way out of it. It doesn’t work that way in the courtroom.”
Ferguson’s office plans to file a brief asking Robart to confirm that the TRO is still in effect later today.