Attorney General who sued Trump shares insights with student journalists


Bob Ferguson, the Attorney General for Washington State, has recently come into the media spotlight after his legal efforts resulted in the successful halt of President Donald Trump’s travel ban against people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. This weekend, he came to the spring Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association journalism convention is Seattle where Inkwell saw him speak.

The presentation began with a 15 minute overview of what suing the president entails. He asked himself and his team the following questions before deciding to pursue legal actions: Do we have legal grounds and a constitutional argument? Are the citizens of Washington State being harmed?

After he determined that the case had both legal and civil grounds, he and his team went to work. Within the span of just one week, they completed a case that would normally take months. “Every day and every hour mattered. People were being denied access to the country. They were being harmed,” said Ferguson.

He faced a lot of doubt; many didn’t believe that he could really do it. Even the media underestimated him. After he won the case, Ferguson said “The media [was] taken aback that this had happened…and the fact that a federal judge in Seattle had the power to do it.”

Ferguson also shared personal insights and anecdotes. For example, he related the processes of making snap decisions and analyzing calculated risk to playing chess, as he initially pursued professional chess after high school. Also, after his halt was approved, he got a strange call from his mother. She told him that she had received a call from CNN, asking to interview him. His mother is 88 years old, and yet CNN couldn’t get in direct contact with him so they called his mother. He did end up interviewing with Anderson Cooper on CNN. While not a journalist himself, Ferguson was able to give advice about making connections, dealing with the media, and the power of both law and journalism.
Watch this video for an excerpt of todays speech: