Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s TikTok App Download Ban
A federal judge has blocked Trump’s executive order banning TikTok from app stores, which was expected to begin on Sunday, September 27, at midnight EST. Judge Carl Nichols of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, who was appointed by Trump to the federal bench in June 2019, issued the ruling on Sunday night, granting a preliminary injunction hours before the ban was to take effect.
The Commerce Department had originally intended to impose the download ban on September 20, but the agency delayed the deadline to September 27 after Trump approved ByteDance’s deal to sell TikTok’s US assets to American companies, including Oracle and Walmart.
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In a statement, TikTok said: “We’re pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban. We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees.”
TikTok also expressed its desire to continue negotiating a deal with American companies. Trump initially sought to ban TikTok in the US due to perceived national security threats, but TikTok maintained that the president was motivated “by political considerations relating to the upcoming general election” rather than security concerns.
In its motion for an injunction, TikTok argued that the ban violated the company’s Fifth Amendment right to due process as well as its users’ First Amendment right to free speech. The company stated it had “made extraordinary efforts to try to satisfy the government’s ever-shifting demands and purported national security concerns.”
On Friday, lawyers for the Trump Administration argued that TikTok had failed to prove that the ban would cause “irreparable harm” to its business. On Sunday, Nichols deemed that the actions of the Trump administration seemed to be “largely a unilateral decision with very little opportunity for plaintiffs to be heard, and the result — whether we’re talking about November or tonight — is a fairly significant deprivation.”
Despite granting the injunction, Nichols rejected TikTok’s request to halt Trump’s executive order that would shut down the app on November 12 if the company does not reach an agreement to sell its American assets. In the meantime, the Chinese government is considering disavowing any agreement.
A federal judge has also halted the Trump Administration’s ban on Tencent’s WeChat app, which was set to go into effect on September 20, citing the First Amendment.
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