The U.S. Court of Appeals Once Again Prevented the Government from Blocking WeChat

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit again today rejected the motion filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and refused to revoke the preliminary injunction previously issued by the federal district judge. This means that the US Department of Commerce is still unable to implement the WeChat ban issued on September 18 and remove WeChat from the Apple and Google App Stores in the United States. This is already the third loss of the US government in the WeChat lawsuit.

On August 6, U.S. President Trump ordered the Department of Commerce to issue a WeChat ban on the grounds that WeChat threatened U.S. national security, prohibiting U.S. individuals and companies from conducting any transactions involving WeChat with Tencent after 45 days. A group of US WeChat users therefore spontaneously formed the US WeChat User Association (hereinafter referred to as the US WeChat Association) and decided to sue the US government to protect their right to use WeChat. Microfederation has no relationship with Tencent.

On August 21st, the US-Microelectronics Association formally sued President Trump and Secretary of Commerce Rose in the Federal Court for the Northern District of California. On August 28, the US WeChat Confederation filed a motion for a prohibition order, arguing that the WeChat prohibition violated the freedom of speech of Chinese Americans and constituted discrimination against the Chinese. It requested a federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction and veto the president’s executive order on WeChat. On September 18, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a specific implementation document for banning WeChat transactions, requiring WeChat to be removed from the Apple and Google App Stores in the United States from midnight on September 20, prohibiting WeChat’s payment functions in the United States and other related blocking measures .

On September 19, the Federal District Judge Laurel Beeler issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the Department of Commerce from implementing an appeal micro-envelope killing order. The U.S. Department of Justice immediately submitted evidence and moved on October 2 to request Judge Biller to withdraw this preliminary injunction, and appealed to the Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, requesting that Judge Biller’s preliminary injunction be rejected.

On October 23, Biller, a federal district judge for the Northern District of California, again dismissed the US Department of Justice’s motion and maintained the preliminary injunction previously issued to prevent the Department of Commerce from implementing the micro-envelope killing order. Judge Biller believes that the US government’s move to block WeChat would violate the freedom of speech of US WeChat users, especially the Chinese community.

On October 26, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit also rejected the motion of the US Department of Justice and decided to maintain the preliminary injunction of the Federal District Judge Biller. The three judges agreed that during the US government’s appeal, US national security will not suffer irreparable losses.

But this does not mean that the U.S. government will truce. They can also appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, requesting the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court to veto the preliminary injunctions of the Ninth Circuit and the Federal District Court and allow the U.S. Department of Commerce to take measures to block WeChat. Just today, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm the nomination of conservative woman justice Amy Barrette. She will soon formally join the U.S. Supreme Court, helping conservative justices achieve an absolute advantage of 6 to 3 in the U.S. Supreme Court. At that time, how the US Supreme Court will punish micro-envelope killing orders will become an important issue.