The Standard Journal
Judge Robart’s national security expertise
Judge James Robart, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington State, believes there is no basis for President Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending non-American entry from seven terrorism-plagued countries.
In court last week, Robart questioned Justice Department lawyer Michelle Bennett about the administration’s decision to confine the moratorium to Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran.
“Have there been terrorist attacks in the United States by refugees or other immigrants from the seven countries listed, since 9/11?” Bennett said.
“Your honor, I don’t know the specific details of attacks or planned attacks,” Bennett responded. “I think — I will point out, first of all, that the rationale for the order was not only 9/11, it was to protect the United States from the potential for terrorism. I will also note that the seven countries that are listed in the executive order are the same seven countries that were already subject to other restrictions in obtaining vi- sas that Congress put in place, both by naming countries, Syria and Iraq, and that the prior administration put in place by designating them as places where terrorism is likely to occur, or — the specific factors are whether the presence in a particular country increases the likelihood that an alien is a credible threat to U.S. security or an area that is a safe haven for terrorists.”
Bennett was obviously improvising a bit at that point and did not have the facts at her fingertips. Robart would have none of that.
“Well, let me walk you back, then,” Robart said. “You’re from the Department of Justice, if I understand correctly?” “Yes.” “So you’re aware of law enforcement. How many arrests have there been of foreign nationals for those seven countries since 9/11?”
“Your honor, I don’t have that information. I’m from the civil division, if that helps get me off the hook.”
“Let me tell you,” Robart said. “The answer to that is none, as best I can tell. So, I mean, you’re here arguing on behalf of someone President Trump that says: We have to protect the United States from these individuals coming f rom these countries, and there’s no support for that.”
In that brief moment, Robart declared there is “no support” for Trump’s decision. And with that, the judge from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington State ordered a nationwide — actually worldwide.
Now, it turns out Robart might not know as much as he let on. Last summer, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest analyzed public sources of information, seeking to learn more about people convicted of terror-related offenses. The Justice Department provided the subcommittee with a list of 580 people who were convicted.