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Jewish Family Service of Seattle v. Trump

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

December 5, 2017

DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States, et al., Defendants.

          Muslim Advocates Johnathan J. Smith, Sirine Shebaya, Matthew W. Callahan, The Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center Aziz Hug Attorney For Muslim Advocates

          Aziz Huq, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP Attorneys for Muslim Advocates and The Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center Joseph P. Hoag.


          James L. Robart Judge.

         Muslim Advocates and the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center ("MJC") respectfully move for leave to file the accompanying amicus brief in support of Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The parties have consented to the filing of the associated amicus brief.


         Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization formed in 2005 that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths. The issues at stake in this case directly relate to Muslim Advocates' work fighting institutional discrimination against the American Muslim community.

         The MacArthur Justice Center is a not-for-profit organization founded by the family of J. Roderick MacArthur to advocate for human rights and social justice through litigation. MJC has represented clients facing myriad human rights and civil rights injustices, including issues of discrimination, the unlawful detention of foreign nationals, and the rights of marginalized groups in the American justice system. MJC has an interest in the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in determining whether government officials have acted with discriminatory animus against an unpopular minority group.

         Amici submit this brief to document the long history of religious animus that led to the order under consideration by the Court. This includes the President's extensive record of hostility against people of the Muslim faith, his open desire to curtail their rights, and his specific, sustained promise to inhibit their entry to the U.S.-including specifically by prohibiting the entry of Muslim refugees. It also describes express anti-Muslim terminology used in the predecessor Executive Orders that created the basis for the present order. MJC's prior briefing was relied upon by the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii in enjoining Executive Order 13780, see Hawai'i v. Trump, 241 F.Supp.3d 1119, 1137 n.14 (D. Haw. 2017), and by parties in the various proceedings challenging the President's orders.


         The Court has broad discretion to permit a non-party to participate in an action as amicus curiae. See, e.g., Gerritson v. de la Madrid Hurtado, 819 F.2d 1511, 1514 n.3 (9th Cir. 1987); Skokomish Indian Tribe v. Goldmark, No. 13-cv-5071-JLR, 2013 WL 5720053, at *1 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 21, 2013) ("The court has 'broad discretion' to appoint amicus curiae.") (citing Hoptowitv. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1260 (9th Cir. 1982)); Nat. Res. Def. Council v. Evans, 243 F.Supp.2d 1046, 1047 (N.D. Cal. 2003) (amici "may file briefs and may possibly participate in oral argument" in district court actions). Indeed, "[d]istrict courts frequently welcome amicus briefs from non-parties concerning legal issues that have potential ramifications beyond the parties directly involved or if the amicus has 'unique information or perspective that can help the court beyond the help that the lawyers for the parties are able to provide.'" Sonoma Falls Dev., LLC v. Nev. Gold & Casinos, Inc., 272 F.Supp.2d 919, 925 (N.D. Cal. 2003) (quoting Cobell v. Norton, 246 F.Supp.2d 59, 62 (D.D.C. 2003) (citation omitted)). No special qualifications are required; "an individual seeking to appear as amicus must merely make a showing that his participation is useful to or otherwise desirable to the court." In re Roxford Foods Litig., 790 F.Supp. 987, 997 (E.D. Cal. 1991).

         Because Amici have special interest and expertise in anti-Muslim animus-both historically and with regard to the present administration-their participation as amici curiae is appropriate in this matter in which the Court will consider issues of particular public interest. See Liberty Res., Inc. v. Phila. Hous. Auth, 395 F.Supp.2d 206, 209 (E.D. Pa. 2005). ("Courts have found the participation of an amicus especially proper ... where an issue of general public interest is at stake."). This is because the primary role of an amicus is "to assist the Court in reaching the right decision in a case affected with the interest of the general public." Russell v. Bd. of Plumbing Examiners of Cty. of Westchester, 74 F.Supp.2d 349, 351 (S.D.N.Y. 1999).

         Amici accordingly request leave to file the accompanying brief as amici curiae in support of Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction.


         IT ...

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