A second federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on President Donald Trump’s TikTok ban on Monday, effectively block the US Commerce Department from imposing restrictions on the Chinese-owned short video app.
If you’ll recall, Trump issued an executive order back on August 6th halting all transactions between US companies and TikTok and WeChat’s Chinese parent companies, ByteDance and Tencent, claiming that the apps were riddled with security concerns that were tantamount to a “national emergency.” In doing so, Trump invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, or IEEPA, which grants the president peacetime authority to deal with any “unusual and extraordinary” foreign “threat” to the U.S.
In his opinion accompanying Monday’s ruling, however, US district judge Carl Nichols wrote that the Secretary of Commerce had been “arbitrary and capricious” in its designation, and that “the government likely exceeded IEEPA’s express limitations.” He granted TikTok’s motion for a preliminary injunction against each item the Commerce Department had attempted to ban.
The ruling comes after a separate preliminary injunction issued by Nichols previously on September 27th that allowed downloads of TikTok to continue. In October, a separate federal judge in Pennsylvania had ruled to halt a shutdown of the app that was set to take place on October 30th after of TikTok’s creators brought a lawsuit against the government. And in November, the whole debacle became something of a farce when the Commerce Department basically admitted on November 12th that it would not be enforcing the shutdown.
“We’re pleased that the court agreed with us and granted a preliminary injunction against all the prohibitions of the Executive Order,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement late Monday. “We’re focused on continuing to build TikTok as the home that 100 million Americans, including families and small businesses, rely upon for expression, connection, economic livelihood, and true joy.”