After Blowing Past Another Deadline, Judge Blocks Trump’s TikTok Ban

The deadline came and went without resolution. Now, a second judge has blocked Trump’s TikTok ban – marking the second court loss.

The long road of the TikTok ban story is slipping further into the absurd. Outgoing president, Donald “warning labels” Trump has been on a personal crusade against the platform ever since his failed Tulsa rally – a rally highlighted with loads of empty seats. Last month, the Trump administration fell into radio silence after blowing past a self-imposed deadline. The administration should have been able to say whether or not they agree with the terms set forth by ByteDance about the platform.

Sometime after being missing in action, the administration quietly extended the deadline. The administration then forgot all about TikTok and blew past a second deadline set for the end of November. Shortly after that, the administration set another deadline for early December – only to blow past that deadline as well. In two short months, the story went from ridiculouse to unusual to absurd.

Now, reports are surfacing that the Trump administration might simply adopt the strategy of ‘overlooking’ the ban altogether. From The Verge:

The Trump administration won’t enforce its own deadline for ByteDance to sell or spin out video-sharing platform TikTok’s business in the US, according to Bloomberg.

The latest deadline for that move, given by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on November 28th, was today, December 4th. An extension isn’t expected, though the current deadline will “be overlooked while the discussions continue” between the Trump administration and TikTok, Bloomberg reports.

CNN tech reporter Brian Fung is corroborating that the US won’t enforce its own deadline, with his sources amusingly suggesting that the lack of a deadline is proof that the US is “highly motivated” to complete talks about the sale.

Regardless of officials being “highly motivated”, it seems that a second judge has ruled that the ban is unenforceable. From NPR:

A federal judge on Monday fully blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to ban TikTok in the U.S., the latest defeat in the White House’s legal crusade against the video-sharing app.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington found that Trump overstepped his authority in using his emergency economic powers to try to effectively put the wildly popular app out of business. He was the second judge to rule against the president’s ban.

Lawyers for TikTok demonstrated that Trump officials’ “failure to adequately consider an obvious and reasonable alternative before banning TikTok” renders the crackdown against the app “arbitrary and capricious,” wrote Nichols, who is a Trump appointee.

Nichols wrote that in the event that the Trump administration prevails on appeal in that case, his injunction would remain in order to prevent users from leaving TikTok en masse for a competing app, something that the judge wrote would exact “irreparable harm” on TikTok.

As mentioned, this is the second court loss in a row for the Trump administration with respect to the TikTok ban. Back in September, we reported that a judge had issued an injunction against the TikTok ban. In that case, the judge cite first amendment concerns regarding the ban and wanted to hold hearings on the case.

Now, here we are, three months later with an increasingly thick legal fog surrounding Trump and the platform. Had it not been for a general election, we might have had a clearer picture. For now, Trump has been busily losing in court, losing more than 50 cases in a bid to overturn the election results. Arguably, this crusade to reject the will of the American people has distracted him from this particular case.

At this point, it’s an even safer bet that all of this will continue to be held in suspense until January 20th. That’s when president-elect, Joe Biden, will assume office. At that point, the hope is likely that he will finally put a stop to all this madness.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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