SEATTLE - A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order Friday against President Donald Trump's extreme vetting executive order, in the order's most significant legal setback, so far.
The restraining order temporarily stops key provisions of the President’s immigration order nationwide, according to the Attorney General's office. It will remain in place until U.S. District Court Senior Judge James Robart, appointed by President George W. Bush, considers the provisions in the full lawsuit, filed earlier this week.
"It’s obviously an historic decision and important one for the rule of law and the people of the state of Washington and the people of our country. It’s not the loudest voice that prevails in the courtroom; it’s the Constitution," said Attorney General Bob Ferguson following the ruling.
"The law is a powerful thing. It has the ability to hold everyone accountable to it, and that includes the President of the United States," Ferguson continued.
To get the restraining order, the state had to argue that halting the order was in the public's interest and that irreparable harm would occur without the restraining order.
Attorney General Ferguson and Solicitor General Noah Purcell argued that the executive order violates the Constitution, by raising both due process and religious discrimination concerns.
“While preventing terrorist attacks is an important goal, the order does nothing to further that purpose by denying admission to children fleeing Syria’s civil war, to refugees who valiantly assisted the US military in Iraq, or to law abiding tech workers who have lived in Washington for years,” states the motion in part.
In their argument, state attorneys outline uncertainty of Washington residents on the list of countries affected by the executive order, as well as impact to business and economy.
Related: What the executive order does
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee applauded the move, saying it was a historic move and a big win for the whole state.
"It’s a message to this president that we will not stand by and allow religious intolerance to dominate," Inslee said.
Meanwhile, Department of Justice attorneys defending the executive order highlight the president’s broad legal authority to restrict entry of immigrants when deemed in the national interest of the United States, citing congressional authority in the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Related: DOJ response to lawsuit
In this case, the federal attorneys argue the purpose of the executive order is “intended to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals.”
The defendants’ response also adds that “exceptions can be made on a case by case basis,” during the 90 day review period, and says the suspension of entry does not apply to lawful permanent residents of the United States, despite initial confusion during the first weekend of implementation.
“The State cannot rely on injuries to lawful permanent residents as it seeks to do,” the response argues.
The White House issued a statement calling the ruling "outrageous" and said the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of the order as soon as possible.
"The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.
Washington was the first state to challenge Trump's executive order. Several other states, including Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia, have also filed lawsuits challenging Trump's order. Minnesota joined Washington's lawsuit Thursday.
A federal judge in Boston refused to extend a temporary restraining order against Trump's executive order Friday. He ruled that the American Civil Liberties Union failed to demonstrate that there was an ongoing need for the order.
Related: Where other court cases stand
While the Washington Attorney General's Office believes the temporary restraining order will take effect immediately, NBC News reports that a Department of Homeland Security official told NBC that the judge's order will have no immediate practical effect.
"There's nothing confusing about what the Judge ordered," countered AG Ferguson. "The federal government will be expected to abide by it, and they will."
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