Donald Trump is completely bonkers, but then you already knew that. What is happening with his Muslim “travel ban” over the weekend only confirms this.
First some background on the status of the Muslim “travel ban.” Trump’s original executive order in January was blocked by the federal district court for the state of Washington as unconstitutional religious discrimination, and that court order was affirmed by a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
This elicited this response from Trump:
That didn’t happen. Instead, the Trump Justice Department dismissed the appeal and reissued a “revised travel ban” in March. The original executive order and lawsuit no longer exist for any purposes (something Trump does not seem to comprehend, as I will explain below).
The “revised travel ban” was also challenged in court, where it has advanced to two courts of appeal. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the federal district court for Maryland in an en banc decision blocking the “revised travel ban” as unconstitutional religious discrimination. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on May 15 in an appeal from the federal district court for Hawaii, and appparenty took additional arguments last week. 9th Circuit hears travel ban appeal, again. That decision is pending.
The Trump Justice Department filed for review before the U.S. Supreme Court late Thursday. Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog explains the posture of this case before the Supreme Court. Trump administration asks justices to weigh in on travel ban:
[T]he federal government asked the Supreme Court to step into the legal dispute over the constitutionality of the executive order [the “revised travel ban”] that the president signed on March 6. The government also asked the court to put on hold two lower-court rulings blocking the implementation of the executive order, telling the justices that those rulings undermine “the President’s constitutional and statutory power to protect” the United States.
Last night’s filings came in two separate challenges to the March 6 order, popularly known as the “travel ban.” One challenge originated in Maryland, where a federal district judge blocked the implementation of the order on March 16; last week the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit largely upheld the Maryland judge’s order. Another challenge came from Hawaii: A district judge there also ruled for the challengers, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit heard oral argument in the government’s appeal on May 15, but the appeals court has not yet issued its decision. Yesterday the government urged the Supreme Court to review the 4th Circuit’s ruling on the merits and to freeze the district court’s order barring the implementation of the travel ban. The government also asked the justices to freeze the Hawaii court’s ruling blocking the travel ban until the 9th Circuit appeal is resolved – and, if necessary, while the government seeks review of that decision in the Supreme Court.
Amy Howe notes that “The justices have asked the challengers to file responses to the petition for review and the requests for stays of the lower courts’ rulings. Those responses are due on or before 3 p.m. on Monday, June 12.“
On Saturday night there was another terrorist attack at the London Bridge. Our anti-Muslim demagogue of a president has used this incident to demagogue the Supreme Court for his anti-Muslim “travel ban.” Jennifer Rubin writes, Donald Trump’s response to the London Bridge attack embarrassed America:
Meanwhile, and it pains me to write this, our President acted like a clod, a heartless and dull-witted thug in sending out a series of tweets. He — commander in chief and leader of the free world — first retweeted an unverified, unofficial Drudge headline about the unfolding terrorist attack. Then he aimed to bolster his Muslim travel ban (which is not supposed to be a Muslim travel ban).
“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” he tweeted. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” (Aside from the inappropriateness of President Donald Trump’s tweet, he fails to grasp that the courts in these cases are reaffirming our rights against an overreaching, discriminatory edict.)
Undeterred by bipartisan criticism of his demagogic tweets from both Republicans and Democrats on Sunday, Republicans and Democrats react after Trump’s tweets on London attack (video), early Monday morning Trump attacked his own Justice Department’s legal strategy on his Muslim “travel ban” and again demagogued the Supreme Court, trying to reassert his original Muslim “travel ban” from January which no longer exists! In Twitter barrage, Trump ramps up push for ‘TRAVEL BAN!’ even as opposition hardens:
President Trump unleashed a fresh barrage of criticism Monday against courts blocking the administration’s travel ban, calling for a fast-track Supreme Court hearing and urging the Justice Department to seek even tougher measures on who enters the United States.
In a series of tweets, Trump circled back on his push for the travel ban in the wake of Saturday’s terrorist attack in London — even as new opposition emerged from Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
Trump also appeared again to disregard the potential legal problems linked to the term “travel ban.” Trump’s use of the phrase was cited by several U.S. district court judges in decisions to stop plans to virtually halt U.S. entry for citizens of six Muslim-majority nations.
The Trump administration’s lawyers — as well as White House spokesman Sean Spicer and other top Trump aides — have argued that Trump’s previous appeals for a “Muslim ban” have no connection to the travel restrictions. The White House claims the rules are needed because of security gaps in the six countries cited.
But Trump’s latest comments possibly undercut that stance by calling the revised order a “politically correct version” — leaving open suggestions that religion was an element of the original order.
“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” Trump wrote, using initials to refer to the Supreme Court.
Minutes earlier, he posted: “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”
Trump also called on the Justice Department to seek an “expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court,” and study options for a “much tougher version” in the meantime.
“The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court — & seek much tougher version!” Trump tweeted.
But it was Trump who put forward the revised travel ban provisions — dropping Iraq from the list and making other changes — after the original executive order was blocked by court challenges.
On Sunday, several lawmakers suggested in TV interviews that Trump’s proposed ban is no longer necessary since the administration has had the time it claimed it needed to develop beefed-up vetting procedures to screen people coming to the United States.
“It’s been four months since I said they needed four months to put that in place,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the Intelligence Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think you can do that without a travel ban and hopefully we are.”
“I think the travel ban is too broad, and that is why it’s been rejected by the courts,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “The president is right, however, that we need to do a better job of vetting individuals who are coming from war-torn countries into our nation … but I do believe that the very broad ban that he has proposed is not the right way to go.”
Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.), the top Democrat on the panel, said Trump’s administration has had plenty of time at this point to examine how immigrants are let into the United States and make any improvements that are needed. “If the president wanted 90 days to re-examine how individuals from certain countries would enter the United States, he’s had more than 90 days,” Warner said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
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To get the travel ban reinstated, the Justice Department filed two emergency applications with the Supreme Court last week. If the court allows the development of new vetting procedures to go forward, that could start the clock on another 90 days for the administration to review vetting procedures. But that could also render a Supreme Court decision on the travel ban moot, since the court is not likely to hear that case before October.
That time frame has left some legal experts puzzled about the Trump administration’s intent.
“The enhanced procedures would be in place by the beginning of October,” said Mark Tushnet, a law professor at Harvard University. “By that time, the travel ban would not be in effect.”
As more time goes by with no appearance of effort toward stronger vetting, it could undermine the administration’s legal justification for a temporary travel ban.
As Newsweek observes:
The phrasing and Trump’s own personal views have fueled the case against him in court. Senator Ben Cardin said Monday that Trump’s tweets, which leveled criticism at his own Justice Department, betrayed the true motivation of the policy they seek to pass—a perspective that may play against him in court.
“It clearly shows his intent,” the Maryland Democrat told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” Monday. “His lawyers try to justify it by saying it wasn’t a travel ban, but it was extreme vetting. The President made that clear. It is a travel ban.
Our demagogic president is unhinged and completely bonkers. That coward, Vice President Mike Pence, who continues to enable the mentally unstable Donald Trump, has a moral and legal obligation to assert the Twenty-fifth Amendment and to remove this threat to our national security from office. After how Trump embarrassed this country at NATO and the G-7 summit, and his bizarre “reality TV” performance pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, followed by demagoging the U.S. Supreme Court for his Muslim “travel ban,” what is Pence waiting for? Trump to launch a nuclear attack? It wil be too late then.