Judge blocks Trump order to pull WeChat from app stores

A federal judge in California on Sunday temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s effort to ban downloads of Chinese-owned WeChat.

The Commerce Department had planned to start forcing Apple and Google to yank WeChat from their app stores by Sunday night due to national security concerns.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said WeChat users who filed a lawsuit “have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs favor.”

Magistrate judges are appointed by a majority vote of the federal district judges of a particular district and serve terms of eight years if full-time, or four years if part-time, and may be reappointed.

Beeler said in her order that the Trump administration’s plans “burden substantially more speech than is necessary to serve the government’s significant interest in national security, especially given the lack of substitute channels for communication.”

The Justice Department had urged Beeler not to block the ban, and made no immediate comment after the ruling.

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