Federal Judge Who Blocked Trump's Travel Ban Had A History of Bias For Refugees

By Savannah Smith, The Goldwater · 02-06-2017
Photo credit: Benjamin Haas | Dreamstime.com

The federal judge who issued the temporary restraining order blocking President Trump's executive order on the refugee, immigration and travel ban for seven predominantly Muslim countries may have made his ruling based on his long-held biases. A little digging by The Washington Examiner has revealed that he has a record of helping refugees to come into the U.S. for free and also once promised to continue that same work and experience from the bench.

James Robart, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington State, revealed in his 2004 Senate confirmation process that he provided free legal services for refugees from Southeast Asia, a large source of immigration into the Pacific northwest. In fact, it was precisely his legal work for refugees that Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, anchored what could be seen as practically an endorsement for Robart to win a seat on the federal court.

Hatch gave prominent emphasis on Robart's active representation of the disadvantaged through his work with European Legal Services and the independent representation of Southeast Asian refugees. The Senator even urged his colleagues to join him in supporting Robart's confirmation and claimed that he would be a "fine addition to the bench".

Curiously, Robart was introduced to his Senate confirmation hearing by Washington's two Democratic senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.

Robart then glowingly talked about the pro bono work he did for Evergreen, which has a record of helping refugees to enter the U.S. and stay here for good. Robart's own words from 2004,were very revealing of where his biases lie as far as refugees are concerned, as a "disadvantaged" group he felt compelled to help.

Robart said that his time with Evergreen introduced him to people who in many times felt that the legal system was stacked against them or was unfair. He also said that he helped show to those refugees "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. He then pledged to continue that experience from the bench.

His own words in a time and circumstance- his Senate confirmation- dictate that he should be honest and transparent revealed the judge's biases and predispositions, who knows beliefs long held that "aided", if not clouded, his decision in blocking Trump's travel ban.

President Trump has described Robart's decision as terrible and that because the ruling paved the way for the lifting of the ban, Trump fears many bad people may come pouring. He vowed to seriously work on having Robart's ruling overturned and the Department of Justice has appealed the decision.

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