Written by

Jim Robart '69

Federal judge James L. "Jim" Robart '69 made headlines last weekend with a ruling that temporarily put a halt to President Donald Trump's executive order banning citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.

Robart, a U.S. District Judge in Washington state, is a trustee emeritus and former chair of Whitman College's Board of Trustees.

In his ruling, he wrote: "The court concludes that the circumstances brought before it today are such that it must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government." The case will go on to higher-level courts.

In an interview with Whitman Magazine in 2008, Robart said that his Whitman degree prepared him better for law school than many of his Ivy League classmates, saying, "at Whitman, you are taught to do the right thing, and that's what you're given the power to do."

Whitman College President Kathleen Murray said of Robart: "For many years, his wisdom has helped guide and strengthen the college. Since my arrival at Whitman, Jim has been both a trusted adviser and a friend. The immigration ban has been a cause for concern for many of us in the Whitman community, as we consider the impact it has on our students, colleagues, families and friends. I believe Jim demonstrates the kind of thoughtfulness and fair-minded reasoning that is common among Whitman graduates."

A member of the Phi Beta Kappa organization, Robart received a bachelor's degree in economics at Whitman before going on to earn his law degree at Georgetown University. President George W. Bush nominated him for the federal bench in 2003, and Robart was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 17, 2004.

The ruling was covered by national and international media. Some of the clips are listed below.