Ruling seen as the most severe legal blow yet to ban on immigrants and travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
A federal judge has put a nationwide block on US President Donald Trump’s week-old executive order temporarily barring refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
The temporary restraining order issued by US District Judge James Robart in Seattle on Friday will remain valid nationwide pending a full review of a complaint by Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson.
“The constitution prevailed today,” Ferguson said, describing the judge’s decision as historic. “No one is above the law – not even the president.
“I said from the beginning it is not the loudest voice that prevails in a courtroom, it’s the constitution,” he added, pointing out that Robart was appointed by Republican president George W Bush.
Friday’s ruling was not the first to challenge the travel ban, but it was the most sweeping as it effectively vacated the main tenets of the order.
Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
Ferguson said the order technically means that anyone with a valid visa must be allowed entry into the country by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The US state department is working with the Department of Homeland Security to work out how Friday’s ruling affects its operations, a spokesman told Reuters news agency, and will announce any changes affecting travellers as soon as information is available.
The justice department made no immediate decision on an appeal but said in a statement it would determine its next steps after reviewing the written order.
The White House said it would file an appeal as soon as possible.