Strike Two for Trump and His Gross Muslim Ban

Late yesterday, hours before Donald Trump's revised Muslim ban was due to take effect, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson, a federal judge in Hawaii, ordered a nationwide freeze on the ban. Watson's stunning 43-page opinion [pdf] made absolutely clear that this was no "travel ban," and that Trump's own words, and those of members of his administration and surrogates, had made clear this was a Muslim ban—which thus renders it flatly unconstitutional.

Wrote Watson: "[A] reasonable, objective observer—enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance—would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion."

And then (emphases mine):
It is undisputed that the Executive Order does not facially discriminate for or against any particular religion, or for or against religion versus non-religion. There is no express reference, for instance, to any religion nor does the Executive Order—unlike its predecessor—contain any term or phrase that can be reasonably characterized as having a religious origin or connotation.

Indeed, the Government defends the Executive Order principally because of its religiously neutral text—"[i]t applies to six countries that Congress and the prior Administration determined posed special risks of terrorism. [The Executive Order] applies to all individuals in those countries, regardless of their religion." Gov't. Mem. in Opp'n 40. The Government does not stop there. By its reading, the Executive Order could not have been religiously motivated because "the six countries represent only a small fraction of the world's 50 Muslim-majority nations, and are home to less than 9% of the global Muslim population ... [T]he suspension covers every national of those countries, including millions of non-Muslim individuals[.]" Gov't. Mem. in Opp'n 42.

The illogic of the Government's contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.


Equally flawed is the notion that the Executive Order cannot be found to have targeted Islam because it applies to all individuals in the six referenced countries. It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7% to 99.8%. It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam. Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the Government does, that it does not.
Basically: Liar, liar, pants on fire. You're bigots and can't pretend otherwise.

At a rally in Nashville last night, Trump tantrumed mightily about the judge's decision.

A judge has just blocked our Executive Order on travel and refugees coming into our country from certain countries. [edit] The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge, and should have never been blocked to start with. [edit] This is the opinion of many: An unprecedented judicial overreach! [edit] We're gonna fight this terrible ruling. We're gonna take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court!
He also speculated for the angry crowd that the ruling was "done by a judge for political reasons," and bellowed: "Let me tell you something: I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way. The danger is clear, the law is clear, the need for my executive order is clear."

Reverting to the even more extreme version of the ban will not solve the problem. Which is that this ban cannot pass constitutional muster.

As if to underline the point, a second federal judge in Maryland, Judge Theodore D. Chuang, ruled overnight on a separate suit, issuing "a separate order forbidding the core provision of the travel ban from going into effect."
Chuang echoed that conclusion hours later, ruling in a case brought by nonprofit groups that work with refugees and immigrants, that the likely purpose of the executive order was "the effectuation of the proposed Muslim ban" that Mr. Trump pledged to enact as a presidential candidate.
Check and balance, mate.

This is good news, for now. Unfortunately, I suspect this is far from over. The fight will continue, because Trump isn't going to give up this indecency anytime soon.

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