As LifeZette reported: U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who Friday temporarily curtailed President Donald Trump’s refugee executive order, has something of an activist history on the bench.
Robart, who was nominated to his position by former President George W. Bush in 2004, said the phrase “black lives matter” during a court hearing for a case in August 2016 concerning the Seattle Police Departments potential use of excessive force in a racially charged situation. The Obama administration filed the lawsuit after an investigation concluded the SPD “had engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force” that “could have a disparate impact on minority communities.”
During a court hearing, Robart became “deeply personal,” as the Seattle Times noted, when he pointed to FBI statistics.
“The importance, to me, of this issue is best demonstrated by the news, which was much reported again today,” Robart said with emotion. “According to FBI statistics, police shootings resulting in deaths involve 41 percent black people despite being only 20 percent of the population living in those cities. Forty-one percent of the casualties, 20 percent of the population. Black lives matter.”
— Ansel Herz (@Ansel) August 23, 2016
Prior to Robart’s “black lives matter” statement, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) praised him for his dedication to pro bono legal work representing refugees.
“[Robart] has been active in the representation of the disadvantaged through his work with Evergreen Legal Services and the independent representation of Southeast Asian refugees,” Hatch said during Robart’s confirmation hearing, according to CNN.
In his own words during his confirmation hearing, Robart described how he would approach the cases he considered.
“I was introduced to people who in many times felt that the legal system was stacked against them or was unfair,” Robard said. “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.”