The federal judge who blocked implementation of President Trump's 120-day ban on the entry of refugees and nationals from seven mostly Muslim nations had a record of helping refugees for free — and promised to continue "that experience" from the bench.
James Robart, United States District Court judge for the Western District of Washington State, told the Senate during his 2004 confirmation process that he did pro bono work for refugees from Southeast Asia, a large source of immigration into the Pacific northwest.
His work for refugees was raised by the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch. On the day Robart was confirmed, Hatch offered up his work for refugees as a key reason he should win a seat on the federal court.
Hatch on June 17, 2004 said:
He brings a wealth of trial experience to the federal bench after trying in excess of 50 cases to verdict or judgment as sole or lead counsel, and he has been active in the representation of the disadvantaged through his work with Evergreen Legal Services and the independent representation of Southeast Asian refugees.
Mr. Robart's impressive credentials are reflected in his unanimous American Bar Association rating of Well Qualified. I am confident that he will be a fine addition to the bench and urge my colleagues to join me in supporting his confirmation.
On Feb. 11, Robart was introduced to his Senate confirmation hearing by Washington's two Democratic senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.
Because the ban was lifted by a judge, many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
It was then he talked about his pro bono work for Evergreen, which Law Newz by Dan Abrams reported has a record of aiding refugees trying to get into and stay in the U.S.
I think my time at Evergreen Legal Services had two very important functions for me. One was 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.
He said he would continue that service from the bench. "I will take that experience to the courtroom with me, recognize that you need to treat everyone with dignity and with respect, and to engage them so that when they leave the courtroom they feel like they had a fair trial and that they were treated as a participant in the system."
The Trump administration has promised to fight Robart's sidelining of the temporary travel ban. And the president and vice president have taken a swipe at him and is decision.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org