Federal Judge slammed by Donald Trump for halting 'Muslim ban' was appointed by George W Bush

Judge criticised by Trump also overturned a ban on strip clubs for being 'unconstitutional'

Click to follow
The Independent US

The federal judge attacked by Donald Trump for halting his controversial travel ban was appointed by fellow Republican, President George W Bush.

On hearing the Seattle judge had placed a stay of execution on the ban, Mr Trump took to Twitter with his customary lack of restraint to brand Robart a "so-called judge" and accuse him of of placing the country “in peril”.

Mr Trump vented: “The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!”

Another of his stream of tweets included: “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

Mr Trump’s travel ban is not the first ban to be overturned by Judge Robart. He also struck down Seattle’s 17-year ban on strip clubs being granted licenses.

In 2005, Judge Robart found the city’s moratorium on granting adult entertainment licences amounted to an “unconstitutional prior restraint” – or censorship before any expression actually takes place.


His overturning of the travel ban is not the first time Judge Robart has hit the headlines. The judge, who was universally appointed by the Senate to preside over the courts of Seattle in 2004, sparked controversy in 2016 when he remarked “black lives matter” from the bench.

This came during a case filed by the Obama administration against the Seattle Police Department after an investigation found the force had used excessive force in a pattern of practice which disproportionately affected ethnic minorities.

Citing FBI statistics, he said, “Police shootings resulting in deaths involved 41% black people, despite being only 20% of the population living in those cities.”

“Forty-one per cent of the casualties, 20 per cent people of the population — black lives matter,” he said.

Judge Robart has worked for refuges on a “pro bono” basis – the US equivalent to legal aid, as was noted during his confirmation to the bench. He and his wife have also fostered six refugee children.

During his 2004 confirmation hearing, he spoke of his belief that the courts should help people who are disenfranchised, and vowed to treat everyone with “dignity and respect”.

He said: “I was introduced to people who in many times felt that the legal system was stacked against them or was unfair.

“And one of the things, I think, that my time there helped accomplish was to show them 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.”

The judge was also praised by Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington for his “generous sense of community service through his work with at-risk and special needs youth”.

He is the former president and trustee of the Seattle Children’s Home and has worked extensively with the Children’s Home Society of Washington.

The respected judge is a graduate of Whitman College and Georgetown Law School and worked in private practice as a lawyer for 30 years before his appointment by George W Bush..

Reuters quoted one of his friends, Douglas Adkins, who has known him since childhood, as saying: ““He is relatively apolitical. He’s not a conservative or a liberal. He’s a man interested in the law and fairness.”

Mr Adkins added that Judge Robart would be able to take Mr Trump’s personal attack on the chin because: “His view is that criticism is important”.

His temporary restraining order against Mr Trump’s executive order on travel and immigration was granted pending a review of a suit brought by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Mr Trump’s attack on Judge Robart has drawn criticism from members of Congress and commentators who claim that it threatens the separation of powers in the constitution between the President, Congress and the judiciary, who are all supposed to act independently.

This is not the first time Mr Trump has taken a judge to task for not seeing things his way. 

In June 2016, he hit out at District Judge Gonzalo Curial, who was overseeing fraud lawsuits against Trump University, the tycoon’s defunct real estate school, suggesting the judge was biased against him because of his Mexican heritage at a time when Mr Trump was campaigning on a ticket of immigration control.