A judge for the US District for the Southern District of New York on Monday blocked an executive order by President Donald Trump to sanction the International Criminal Court (ICC). The sanctions included a prohibition on US citizens cooperating with officers of the ICC.
The court blocked the executive order stating that the order would infringe on citizens’ First Amendment right to free speech:
Finally, the Court must “balance the competing claims of injury, consider the effect on each party of the granting or withholding of the requested relief, and pay particular regard to the public consequences in employing the extraordinary remedy of preliminary relief.” Defendants respond that the balance of the equities and the public interest weigh against a preliminary injunction because significant national security and foreign policy interests are at stake and an injunction would interfere with the President’s determination of how best to proceed. The Court is mindful of the Government’s interest in defending its foreign policy prerogatives and maximizing the efficacy of its policy tools. Nevertheless, “national-security concerns must not become a talisman used to ward off inconvenient claims — a ‘label’ used to ‘cover a multitude of sins.'” For largely the same reasons discussed above in the analysis of Plaintiffs’ First Amendment claims, the Court concludes that the proffered national security justification for seeking to prevent and potentially punish Plaintiffs’ speech is inadequate to overcome Plaintiffs’ and the public’s interest in the protection of First Amendment rights. Accordingly, the Court finds that the balance of equities tips in Plaintiffs’ favor.
The president promulgated the executive order in June after the ICC announced an investigation into US Afghanistan war crimes. The order also prohibited ICC members from entering the US, stating, “The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those responsible for the ICC’s transgressions, which may include the suspension of entry into the United States of ICC officials, employees, and agents, as well as their immediate family members.”
The Trump administration has yet to comment on the ruling.