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Trump Attacks ‘So-Called’ Judge But Who is James Robart? (Hint: GOP Appointee)


On Saturday morning, President Donald Trump, once again, took to twitter to insult a federal judge. This time it was James Robart, a U.S. District Judge in Seattle, who ruled against his “extreme vetting” executive order.

Robart temporarily blocked Trump‘s ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries as a result of a lawsuit filed by the State of Washington. In his temporary restraining order, Robart wrote that “The executive order adversely affects the state’s residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations and freedom to travel.” Throughout the hour and half hearing on Thursday night, Robart grilled attorneys from both sides, ultimately agreeing to put a temporary halt to the program.

But, who is U.S. District Judge Robart?

Robart, 69,  was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2003 and unamimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 17, 2004 by a 99-0 vote. Robart was in private practice working for Lane Powell PC in Seattle, Washington for decades before he became a judge. He attended Whitman College, and obtained his law degree from the Georgetown University Law School.  Early in his career, he worked for former Sen. Scoop Johnson (D) and Sen. Mark Hatfield (R).  He assumed senior status as a District Court judge in 2016.  Judge Robart has previously been given the The American Bar Association‘s highest rating, Well-Qualified.

Interestingly, he has done pro-bono work helping refugees

“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,”  Sen Orrin Hatch said during his confirmation hearing in 2004.

During his confirmation proceedings, Robart commented about his time doing pro-bono work at Evergreen Legal Services,

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.

And the second part of it is that working with people who  have an immediate need and an immediate problem that you are  able to help with is the most satisfying aspect of the practice  of law. I think in terms of–if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed by the Senate, 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.

Judge Robart has a reputation for being inquisitive, and blunt from the bench. 

In 2015, a Seattle Times article described Robart as “angry” when he “excoriated efforts” to expand the authority of a citizen police-review board without the approval of the court. Judge Robart was presiding over a 2012 consent degree between U.S. DOJ and the Seattle Police Department after claims by citizens of excessive force, according to the newspaper.

In 2013, Judge Robart sentenced Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, to 18 years in prison after he planned to attack a Seattle military complex. “I hope what we’ve done today represents justice,” Robart said in court after he announced the sentence.

We will add more information to this article as we find. 

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