A US federal judge, Carl Nichols has halted the enforcement of a banning order by President Donald Trump on downloads of a popular video app, TikTok a few hours before it was set to take effect.
The judge issued a temporary injunction at the request of TikTok, which the White House has called a national security threat stemming from its Chinese parent firm’s links to the Beijing government.
Although no reason for the decision was released in a brief order by the court in Washington, the opinion was sealed as there were indications that the judge may unseal portions of the order after consulting with lawyers from both sides.
Meanwhile, the judge denied TikTok’s request to suspend the November 12 ban still, the decision represents a temporary win for TikTok, which has 100 million US users.
Responding to the verdict, TikTok expressed delight that the court agreed with their legal arguments adding that the company will continue defending its rights for the benefit of its community and employees.
However, TikTok lawyer John Hall has argued that even a temporary ban would be devastating and cause the company irreparable harm by stunting its growth and hurting its commercial reputation.
The company also said the ban was unnecessary because negotiations were already underway to restructure the ownership of TikTok to address national security issues raised by the administration.
Reacting to the judge’s order, the Commerce Department said it would comply with the injunction but intends to vigorously defend the executive order from legal challenges.
You will recall that the Trump administration order had sought to ban new downloads of the app from midnight Monday, September 28 but would allow the use of TikTok until November 12, when all users would be blocked.
Earlier, the US government lawyers argued the president has a right to take national security actions noting that the ban was needed because of TikTok’s links to the Chinese government through its parent firm ByteDance.