Second decide says Trump can’t ban TikTok

A federal judge issued an injunction designed to prevent the U.S. Department of Commerce from banning transactions with TikTok.

The Trump administration passed an executive order on Aug. 6 that would have blocked transactions between U.S. companies and TikTok and WeChat’s Chinese parent companies ByteDance and Tencent. Trump declared TikTok and WeChat a “national emergency,” citing privacy and security concerns. This order relied on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), a law that allows Trump to prohibit transactions between the U.S. and foreign companies.

“The government has likely exceeded the express limits of the IEEPA.”

However, in his response to today’s ruling, US District Judge Carl Nichols said that “the government has likely exceeded the express limits of the IEEPA.” He granted TikTok’s motion for a restraining order against any item the Commerce Department attempted to ban.

Nichols had previously issued an injunction on Sept. 27 that allowed people to continue downloading the app in the United States. At the time he did not rule over the other restrictions imposed by the Department of Commerce.

A federal judge from Pennsylvania had already effectively prevented TikTok from closing the company on October 30 in a ruling on a lawsuit brought by three TikTok developers. The Commerce Department admitted the matter last month and said it would not enforce the November 12 shutdown order.

“We are delighted that the court has given us our approval and issued an injunction against all bans in the executive order,” a TikTok spokesman said in a statement. “We are focused on continuing to build TikTok as the home that 100 million Americans, including families and small businesses, rely on for expression, connection, economic livelihood, and true joy.”

The commercial department did not respond to a request for comment.

The Trump administration had set a December 4 deadline for ByteDance to sell or spin off TikTok’s business in the United States. However, the government said that day that it would not extend or enforce the deadline. President Trump has announced that he will approve an “in concept” offer from Oracle and Walmart to create a US-based company, TikTok Global. However, it is not clear how this would address some security risks, and the deal has not yet been finally approved in China.

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