Restrain this

At The Stranger Sydney Brownstone provides a summary of the temporary restraining order entered by Judge James Robart staying enforcement “on a nationwide basis” of President Trump’s timeout on immigration from seven countries previously identified by the Obama administration. The Seattle Times has posted an excited story on the order together with a video of the hearing on it (below).

This case has been brought in federal district court against the Trump administration by attorneys general of Washington and Minnesota with dreams of higher office in mind. Judge Robart has no such excuse.

The case is styled State of Washington et al. v. Donald J. Trump. Judge Robart disposes of the issues in a decision less than seven pages long. The heart of the court’s order, such as it is, amounts to about one page. It is entirely conclusory. If the order had been submitted to me when I was teaching legal writing at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis I would have agonized over whether to award it a D- for satisfying the the formal requirements (barely) or flunk it outright. At American Thinker, Ed Straker finds the order wanting. Ed’s assertions are at least arguable; the judge’s decision makes no arguments.

I don’t think the temporary restraining order is immediately appealable, although Judge Robart’s comments at the beginning and end of the hearing suggest otherwise and I may well be mistaken. The White House has vowed to seek an emergency stay of the order.

Judge Robart orders the parties to propose a briefing schedule on the entry of a preliminary injunction. An order granting or denying an injunction would be immediately appealable to the Ninth Circuit, but the Ninth Circuit is itself famously problematic.

I asked an immigration attorney for his opinion on the substance of the order last night. His response came in the form of advice that seems to me inarguable, if beyond my power: “Get on with the Gorsuch confirmation. Fast.”

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