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Monday, April 6, 2020

Washington attorney general speaks to Western about taking the president to court

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson wasted no time making history when the opportunity arose.

Ferguson became the first state attorney general to sue President Donald Trump’s executive order and explained how he did so to an enrapt Western audience.

Once the travel ban executive order was signed on Jan. 27, Ferguson’s civil rights unit went right to work.

“Things were happening at a very rapid pace,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson explained the three reasons why Washington was the first state to take action against the ban.

“First, we anticipated the executive order, second, we had the resources to do the work, and third, a decision had to be made and there were some risks attached with it on multiple levels,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson deconstructed and highlighted their key arguments in the lawsuit that led them to win the case, which ended the travel ban.

These arguments as stated in the presentation by Ferguson included constitutional violations of the First Amendment and the Fifth Amendment of Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause.

Also, statutory violations including the Immigration and Nationality Act, Foreign Affairs Reform and Restoration Act, Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Administrative Procedure Act.

“The things we talk about when we decide to file a lawsuit, the question’s almost always the same, ‘Are Washingtonians being harmed?’ That’s who I represent,” Ferguson said. “Second, ‘Are our constitutional arguments good?’ We felt we had good legal arguments for both.”

The audience listened attentively to Ferguson’s every word. People of all kinds including students, professors and community members filled one of the largest classrooms Western has, Miller 138, and consisted of many fans of Ferguson.

“[Ferguson] is really taking it to heart to defend the rights of Washingtonians and I have a lot of admiration for that,” junior business management major Lorelei Labella said.

Another audience member, Sirantos Fotopoulos, also held Ferguson in high regards.

“The fact that he is willing to challenge on these issues when he could just let it slide by, truly shows that he is an advocate for people,” Fotopoulos said. “He has shown nothing but courage and persistence in terms of fighting for people who don’t have a voice.”

After Ferguson finished his presentation, he received a standing ovation from the audience. Ferguson continued to answer questions from the audience concerning deportation, political activism and the public’s concern for our current administration. After, Ferguson met and shook hands with audience members who stayed after.


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