Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Trump's Muslim comments could haunt him in travel ban appeal

Francis Olson | 10 May, 2017, 03:04

During his daily White House press briefing Monday, Sean Spicer was questioned about Trump's use of language on his campaign website, the same day the president's revised travel ban was headed to a federal appeals court.

A lower judge's ruling dealt Trump a blow by freezing his second attempt to close U.S. borders to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. The judges did not immediately issue a decision on Monday.

Trump has vowed to fight the latest "flawed" ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.

Wall also insisted that despite the fact the countries subject to the ban - Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan - have Muslim-majority populations, "this is not a Muslim ban".

"Its text doesn't have to anything to do with religion", argued Wall. Jeffrey Wall, Mr Trump's acting solicitor-general, was unflappable in running down every question 13 Fourth Circuit judges threw his way in its hearing on May 8th. "This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe".

"(Trump) made it clear he was not talking about Muslims all over the world, that's why it's not a Muslim ban", CNN quoted Wall as saying in the hearing.

Minutes later the statement, which called for a lockdown until "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on", had disappeared from the website.

Jadwat claims the administration has failed to provide a legitimate national security reason for the policy.

Jadwat, the ACLU lawyer, said the supposed rationale for Trump's order had been undercut by his own Department of Homeland Security, whose recent report found no connection between nationality and the threat of terrorism.

However, judges at the appeals court, repeatedly pointed to Trump and his associates' prior comments about Muslims.

Chanticleer Holdings, Inc. (HOTR) Closed at $0.49
The average is taken over a specific period of time, like 10 days, 20 minutes, 30 weeks, or any time period the trader chooses. Over the last three months, the shares of the company have changed 25.64% and performed 9.18% over the last six months.

Judge James A. Wynn Jr. questioned whether there has ever been a case where a president made such definitive and specific statements during a campaign and then issued an executive order that appeared to implement those statement without explicitly doing so. "Can we look at his college speeches?" he asked. The first look at the Trump travel ban is considered a "major presidential test" specifically geared towards immigration.

"[Trump has] never repudiated what he said about Muslims", Judge King said.

The new version made it clear the 90-day ban covering those six countries doesn't apply to those who already have valid visas.

Trump issued the March executive order after federal courts blocked an earlier version, issued on January 27 a week after he took office, that also had included Iraq among the nations targeted.

The president's "power over immigration must be exercised in a way that's consistent with the Constitution", including its ban on religious discrimination, said Judge Pamela Harris. The ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center and International Refugee Assistance Project [Irap] brought the case against the government in Maryland in March.

The Trump administration had argued that the travel restrictions were necessary national security measures, not a "Muslim ban".

"The text [of the executive order] doesn't have to anything to do with religion", Wall said.

Attorneys for the president likely see the moderate 4th Circuit as friendlier territory than the 9th Circuit, which conservatives have long accused of being too liberal.

But three Republican appointees on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, asked whether the president should be second-guessed when it comes to protecting the country's borders. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has scheduled oral arguments in that case for May 15, and they will be televised.

Yet in this case, the judges on the 4th Circuit decided it should be heard by the full court - otherwise known as "en banc" - in the first instance.

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