The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday began the appeals process of a recent federal court ruling that blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to ban downloads of popular social media app TikTok.
Judge Carl Nichols of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in an order issued on Oct. 28 partially granted a preliminary injunction against a TikTok download prohibition sought by Trump and executed by the Commerce Department. The ruling did not extend to pending restrictions that will prohibit American internet carriers from handling TikTok’s traffic on Nov. 12.
As expected, the government pushed back against Nichols’ judgment on Thursday with a notice of appeal, reports The New York Times. In a statement following the initial ruling, the Commerce Department said it would comply with the injunction, but maintained Trump’s order is “fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests.”
While many today have focused on the danger of a new US Supreme Court dominated 6–3 by conservatives, we must also recognize that the current state of leadership in the US attorney general’s office has helped create the problematic context wherein that court shift may occur.
“The most sacred of the duties of government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.” So wrote Thomas Jefferson, and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has adopted this as its guiding principle, putting it front-and-center on its website. And, indeed, although the US attorney general serves at the pleasure of the president, the office is intended to function relatively non-ideologically to ensure constitutional rights and laws are applied fairly to all.
But at times this is an awkward balance, because the office is appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate.