The Commerce Department plans to challenge a federal judge's order that blocked the Trump administration's WeChat download ban

The Commerce Department plans to challenge a federal judge's order that blocked the Trump administration's WeChat download ban
A federal judge in California issued a temporary injunction preventing the Commerce Department from banning downloads of WeChat.Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • A federal judge on Saturday blocked the Trump administration's attempt to institute a download ban on Chinese-owned social media app WeChat.
  • The US Department of Commerce on Monday said it planned to challenge the judge's order, Reuters reported.
  • US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in California granted "the motion on the ground that the plaintiffs have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs’ favor, and the plaintiffs establish sufficiently the other elements for preliminary-injunctive relief."
  • The plaintiffs in the case argued that the Trump administration's WeChat download ban violated the First and Fifth Amendments, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and that the ban "was not a lawful exercise of the President’s and the Secretary’s authority under the International Economic Emergency Powers Act.
  • The Commerce Department had announced the download ban, which had also included TikTok, on Friday.

A federal judge in California on Saturday issued a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration's download ban on WeChat, the Chinese-owned social media messaging app, that was slated to begin Sunday.

"The court grants the motion on the ground that the plaintiffs have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs' favor, and the plaintiffs establish sufficiently the other elements for preliminary-injunctive relief," read the Saturday ruling by Laurel Beeler, the US Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

The Department of Commerce on Monday said it planned to challenge the judge's order, Reuters reported.
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"Prohibiting the identified transactions is necessary to protect the national security of the United States, and the department expects to soon seek relief from this order," the Commerce Department said in a statement, according to the report.

Bloomberg first reported the news on Sunday. The plaintiffs in the case, known as the US WeChat Users Alliance, argued that the Trump administration's WeChat download ban violated the First and Fifth Amendments, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and that the ban "was not a lawful exercise of the President's and the Secretary's authority under the International Economic Emergency Powers Act."

As Bloomberg noted, the plaintiffs in the case had argued a ban on downloads of the app would lead to violations of the free-speech rights of Chinese-speaking Americans who rely on the app to communicate domestically and with their friends and family in China.
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The US Department of Commerce on Friday issued an order that would have required Apple and Google to remove WeChat from their respective app marketplaces, claiming that the bans were in an effort "to safeguard the national security of the United States."

The Friday order also included popular video-based social-media app TikTok, although the administration on Saturday postponed that ban by one week after President Trump said he gave his "blessing" to a deal for Walmart and Oracle to acquire a portion of TikTok from its Chinese owner ByteDance.
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