Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, left, talks to reporters, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

Kudos are due to the 9th Circuit and Washington state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Solicitor General Noah Purcell, who brought President Trump to heel, confirming that the president even in matters of national security and immigration does not have untrammeled power. Not to be forgotten, however, is Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D). He released a statement after the court win. Striking just the right note, he declared on Thursday:

Today’s decision to uphold Judge Robart’s order is a victory for Washington State and indeed the entire country. . . . The decision underscores the serious constitutional issues with President Trump’s executive order and emphasizes what Attorney General Ferguson has said throughout this case: that no one is above the law, not even the president.

Since the restraining order was issued, in our state we’ve seen a Somali man reunited with his wife, an American citizen. An Iraqi global health leader able to rejoin his colleagues at the University of Washington. And a graduate student studying HIV vaccines to return to continue his important work.

I’m proud that Washington is a national leader in this fight. We were the first state to stand against this executive order. But all Americans need to be willing to stand and fight for our democracy, everywhere, every time, and in every way it is threatened.

Inslee served in Congress from 1993 to 1995 and again from 1999 to 2012. He was elected and reelected governor. Even before the 9th Circuit decision he was taking a leading role in the Democratic “resistance” to Trump. The case did not come about by happenstance. Even before the inauguration Inslee and his legal team sketched out legal strategy to take on potential Trump initiatives, including stepped-up deportations and a travel ban.

In an interview last month he talked to local reporters about his willingness to take on the feds on issues such as climate change:

As far as environmental protection and clean energy policies go, Washington will have to “stand on our own feet” under President Donald Trump and his cabinet, Inslee said.

“It’s necessary that we deal with climate change, and from all signs, we’re going to get no help from the federal government in the next several years,” he said.

He called the anti-science bent of the incoming administration “extremely disturbing” when asked about some of the statements questioning the safety of vaccinations and validity of climate science.

“We’ve heard of fake news, and the only thing worse is fake science,” Inslee said.

Washington is one of the most scientifically literate states in the country, Inslee said, in areas from aerospace engineering to cloud computing. He also said that some of the nation’s top climate scientists are at the University of Washington, and that the state needs to protect them. . . .

Inslee was critical of Trump’s “tweet-based” policies, especially regarding the deficit and trade. Inslee has helped foster close trading relationships in Asian markets, and said he wouldn’t want to see the president “start a trade war, accidentally.”

“I hope to encourage the administration to think before they tweet,” he said.

Just days after the Trump’s inauguration Inslee was leading the charge, vowing to protect his state and stand up to Trump’s immigration agenda. “Early in our resistance to his potential damage to our states, we’re going to be vocal. In the middle, we’re going to be persistent, and at the end, we’re going to be resistant. If the federal government wants to send several billion dollars to my office to help infrastructure, you can’t say no,” Inslee told Politico. “But we will say no very loudly, very vocally, very consistently to the idea that’s going to be some leverage for not protecting people based on race or ethnicity.”

Far from the Beltway, Inslee has a chance to make a name for himself and lead on issues near and dear to the Democratic base, but also to talk sense on trade and American leadership. He’s no household name, but he may now be known as “the governor who defeated Trump on the travel ban.” If he chooses to, he would be a formidable contender in the 2020 presidential primary.

For his remarkable court victory that lifted the spirits of the Trump opposition, we can say, well done, Gov. Inslee.



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