The Gristle

Washington v. Trump, 2

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WASHINGTON V. TRUMP: The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit wasted little time in returning a decision that affirms, unanimously, the block of President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration sought by the state’s legal counsel. The three-judge panel upheld the earlier ruling by U.S. District Court Senior Judge James L. Robart that found key provisions of the president’s order were possibly legally unsound or unconstitutional and issued a halt through temporary restraining order on its enforcement pending more thorough review. The appeals court agreed with the caution.

“The decision underscores the serious constitutional issues with President Trump’s executive order and emphasizes what Attorney General Bob Ferguson has said throughout this case: that no one is above the law, not even the president,” Governor Jay Inslee said of the decision.

Distilled essence, the president’s order was poorly constructed and reasoned, and could not stand even casual scrutiny by the courts.

“The Ninth Circuit is correct to leave the TRO in place, in my view, for the simple reason that there is no cause to plunge the country into turmoil again while the courts address the merits of these matters over the next few weeks,” Benjamin Wittes, law scholar and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, commented. “Eventually, the court has to confront the clash between a broad delegation of power to the president—a delegation which gives him a lot of authority to do a lot of not-nice stuff to refugees and visa holders—in a context in which judges normally defer to the president, and the incompetent malevolence with which this order was promulgated.”

That latter point is important, because the strategy of the state moving forward will be to build a case through legal discovery of “what truly motivated” Trump’s executive order on immigration, an approach that could provide a rare public examination of how a U.S. president makes national security decisions.

The AG signaled that he will move aggressively to obtain written documents and emails authored by administration officials that might contain evidence the order was unconstitutionally biased and motivated by ethnocultural malevolence or political opportunism. Ferguson said he would also move to depose administration officials.

The Trump administration could press on to review by the U.S. Supreme Court (where justices could potentially deadlock 4-4, allowing the lower court ruling to stand) or—likely the superior option—simply begin to draft a more robust, better reasoned order that can withstand judicial review.

“I’m proud that Washington is a national leader in this fight,” Inslee commented after the appeals court ruling. “We were the first state to stand against this executive order. But all Americans need to be willing to stand and fight for our democracy, everywhere, every time, and in every way it is threatened.”

In that spirit of standing up for those threatened and pushing back against federal overreach, Bellingham City Council this week approved a resolution and an ordinance that each further clarifies that city officials and police will not cooperate with registration or surveillance programs that are deemed unlawful or unconstitutional, citing “the principles of the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which limit federal incursion into the powers reserved to the states and which enables municipal entities to have authority and control over their law enforcement resources.”

Scores arrived to comment on the actions in Council’s evening session, all galvanized by our deeply polarized times. But in reality Council’s actions were more mundane than the drama of the crowds suggests: The resolution celebrates diversity. The ordinance collates and codifies city policy that already exists with regard to the enforcement of city immigration policy; but—framed as a new chapter to municipal code—it does carry the force of law. It makes policy enforceable.

Simply, “the Bellingham Police Department will focus on the safety and security of residents regardless of civil immigration status, and the Bellingham City Council refuses to allow Bellingham police officers to be compelled into service as de facto immigration officers.”

Not as bold a statement as many activists wanted, the ordinance does reflect the desire of city officials to focus on the tangible in preference to the symbolic, to advance policy and practice ahead of posture—“although, I have come to understand through this dialogue the symbols can add clarity,” Mayor Kelli Linville admitted, “because sometimes what we do is not transparent to the general public. And if the label of ‘sanctuary’ makes people feel safer and more secure, then there is a purpose to it.”

The language of their ordinance is plain: “The goals of this legislation are to affirm and foster trust and cooperation between law enforcement officials and immigrant communities, to heighten crime prevention and public safety, and to reaffirm the city’s commitment to equal access to city services, all so that families and persons may continue to be productive members of the Bellingham community,” the ordinance reads. “All Bellingham residents should be confident in seeking the assistance of law enforcement, regardless of their civil immigration status and confident in their ability to receive city services without inquiry into their civil immigration status to the fullest extent permitted by law.”

“We’re not calling it a Sanctuary City ordinance—we don’t need to,” Council member Terry Bornemann said. “But this lays out those elements that basically state what sanctuary is, and what citizens can expect from that. We are a city of acceptance.”

Cash Spell
Past Columns
Napkin Plan

November 15, 2017

Less Wave Than Slosh

November 8, 2017

Statistics of Shame

November 1, 2017

Cashing Out, Cashing In

October 25, 2017

A Creeping Paralysis

October 18, 2017

Fire and Water

October 11, 2017


September 27, 2017

Ounce of Prevention

September 20, 2017

Dwelling On It

September 13, 2017

Keeping the Dream Alive

September 6, 2017

A Bridge Too Far?

August 23, 2017

The Missing Middle

August 16, 2017

The Last, Best Solution

August 9, 2017

Fire and Water III

August 2, 2017

Fire and Water II

July 26, 2017

Fire and Water

July 19, 2017

Some Assembly Required

July 12, 2017

Good, Bad, Ugly

July 5, 2017

Zero Hour

June 28, 2017


June 21, 2017

Home for the Holidays

5:00pm|Ferndale Events Center

The 39 Steps

7:00pm|Sehome High School Little Theatre

Little Women

7:00pm|Ferndale High School

Peter and the Star Catcher

7:00pm|Squalicum High School

Romeo, You Idiot!

7:30pm|Heiner Theater


7:30pm|Mount Baker High School

Craft Bazaar

9:00am|American Legion Post #43

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Hot Cider & Cool Art

10:00am|Morgan Block Studios

Used Book Sale

10:00am|Everson Library

Red Barn Handpicked Holiday Market

12:00pm|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

3:00pm|Lynden Library, Ferndale Library

It's Where the Sidewalk Ends

6:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

New Music, New Dance

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

The Big Short One-Act Festival

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Bellingham Repertory Dance's Emerge

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Pancake Feed

8:00am|VFW Post 1585

Holiday Bazaar

9:00am|Hillcrest Chapel

Christmas in the Woods

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Acme Elementary School

Turkey Trot

9:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

Climate Reality

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

South Fork Winterfest

10:00am|Van Zandt Community Hall

Fall Gardening

10:00am|Lynden Library

Cheese Fest

10:00am|Everybody's Store

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Holiday Farmers Market

10:00am|Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center

Lynden Book Club

10:30am|Everson Library

Salmon Sighting

12:00pm|Haynie Creek

Conquering Writer's Block

2:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Fishboy Holiday Show

2:00pm|FishBoy Gallery

NaNoWriMo and Indie Publishing

3:00pm|Everson Library

Skagit Wine & Beer Festival


Homeless Summit and Cold Weather Giveaway

3:00pm|Maritime Heritage Park

i.e. artists talk

3:30pm|i.e. gallery

Small Works Opening

4:00pm|Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park

Smith & Vallee Artist Talk

4:00pm| Smith & Vallee Gallery

WA 129 Poetry Reading

6:00pm|Maple Hall

Giving from the Heart

7:00pm|Depot Art Center

A Light in the Darkness

7:00pm|Church of the Assumption

Welcome Home Celebration

7:00pm|Village Books

Ruach Consort

7:00pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Eagles Hall

Michael Kaeshammer

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Legends of the Blues V

7:30pm|Byrnes Performing Arts Center

Peter and the Star Catcher

7:00pm|Squalicum High School


7:30pm|Mount Baker High School

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Bellingham Repertory Dance's Emerge

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Cheese Fest

10:00am|Everybody's Store

Holiday Farmers Market

10:00am|Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Getting in on the act


Sound of Music Singalong

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

A Musical Thanksgiving

2:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Harmony from Discord with Whatcom Symphony Orchestra

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

The 25th Hour

4:00pm|Village Books

Southside Community Meal

5:00pm|Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Way North Comedy Showcase

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

Rutie Dornfeld, John Miller

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

Trove Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Wander + Camber Beer Dinner

6:30pm|Camber Cafe

Rocks & Gems

7:00pm|Bloedel Donovan Community Building


9:30pm|Green Frog

see our complete calendar »

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