Two Courts Find That, Yes, It Was a Muslim Ban All Along

The federal courts have dealt two more blows to President Trump’s ongoing attempt to ban Muslims from entering the United States. The two rulings, issued yesterday in separate lawsuits in Hawaii and Maryland, made clear that the president’s second Muslim ban executive order is just as unconstitutional as the first.

The first blow came yesterday from a federal court in Hawaii. Just hours before the travel ban was scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. this morning, the court issued a ruling blocking the operative provisions of the executive order — both the ban against people from six predominantly Muslim countries and the provisions blocking refugee resettlement in the United States. The second ruling, in a case brought by the ACLU and the National Immigration Law Center on behalf of clients including the International Refugee Assistance Project and HIAS, came just before 2 a.m. from a Maryland district court. That ruling also blocked the six-country ban.

Urge your senators to oppose Muslim ban 2.0.

The breadth of the Hawaii ruling means that, for now, no part of the executive order can take effect without further input from the courts.

A few main takeaways:

1. Keep talking, Mr. President.

Despite the government’s claims to the contrary, both judges found ample evidence that religious discrimination, in clear violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, had motivated the executive order. The courts pointed to the words of the president himself, whose various statements during and since his campaign, including his campaign promise of “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” provided clear evidence of his intent to target Muslims based on religion.

We also have the president’s associates’ words. When Rudy Giuliani boasted that Trump had asked him to craft a Muslim ban that could pass legal muster, and Stephen Miller stated that the second executive order would have the same basic effect as the first, they helped confirm the unlawful purpose.

As a result, despite the changes made to the second order, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland noted that “the history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”

2. National security was not the point.

The federal court in Maryland, in particular, saw through the Trump administration’s claims that the ban was about national security, pointing to the absence of any evidence suggesting that nationals from the six countries pose a heightened threat to the United States. To the contrary, the court noted, a bipartisan group of former senior U.S. national security officials filed a friend-of-the-court brief stating that no acts of terrorism have been committed by citizens of the six countries since 9/11 and that no intelligence as of January suggested a heightened threat.

To make matters worse, the federal judge noted that the White House never bothered to reach out to national security experts before implementing the first ban. This fact all but destroyed the national security rationale for the Muslim ban, according to the judge:

“In this highly unique case, the record provides strong indications that the national security purpose is not the primary purpose for the travel ban… The fact that the White House took the highly irregular step of first introducing the travel ban without receiving the input and judgment of the relevant national security agencies strongly suggests that the religious purpose was primary, and the national security purpose, even if legitimate, is a secondary post hoc rationale.”

3. Now what?

For now, thanks to the Hawaii decision, both main sections of the executive order are blocked. The Maryland court indicated it will issue a ruling in the near future on the executive order’s illegal reduction of refugee admissions. It’s unlikely that the district courts will have the last word, as the government is likely to appeal these decisions.

And if it does, we will fight those appeals every step of the way. 

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Judson Brown

In Northampton, Mass. some 700 volunteers, including a dozen or more "circles of care," are ready and waiting to receive refugees from a variety of countries and to provide them with long-term community support to insure their successful integration into our community and American Society.

Anonymous

God bless you all!

Anonymous

Good that you care more about helping refugees then American people here that need help. Why not try helping a homeless Americans get back on their feet first. Instead you all people care about is someone that doesn't even live in America. You want to give refugees everything(a job, home, money, free healthcare, etc) yet ton's of Americans don't even have that.

JustiClaire

This is a response to the anonymous' message. With all due respect, the truth is that there is many policies affecting important areas of social interest here in the United States and around the world, including homeless people and immigrants, among many others. And I believe that each have a special and significant social matter and should be attended, so don't get me wrong, because I even run a ministry for homeless people. However, I believe that these kind of policies, against immigrants, are attacking the cornerstone of the United States, which since the beginning, have been constituted for the protection of the liberties of every kind of people and have served as a refuge for all kind of minorities. The violation of immigrants' civil rights could be just the beginning for the increase of many others violations of society's minorities, so I don't think that this is a fight that we would want to lose. I support the work that the ACLU is doing and I think that every person has a different call so we just should fight for it and support each other in it.

Anonymous

And we will fight you. As long as it takes, we will fight you. Trump does not stand alone. These judges rulings are not based in law but on their preconceptions of motives. My question is why does the ACLU want to undermine national security?

Anonymous2

And we will fight back. As long as it takes. We do not stand alone in opposition of bigotry. The judicial system is doing the job as described by law based on statements made by the president calling for illegal bans on Muslims. My question is why are you trying to hide your hate behind a thin veil of National Security. No Muslims from the banned countries has participated in an attack against the United States. There is NO FACTUAL evidence provided that shows this travel ban is in the interest of National Security, though there is ample evidence it is based in the discrimination of Muslim people.

Anonymous

You mention that they have no legal basis for their ruling. What particular aspect of their ruling does not have legal basis? Are you indicating they prejudged President Trump's prior statements and that of his staff? It is more feasible to judge what is stated. In this instance, it was prior statements that led to the ruling. Whose responsibility is it for saying too much?

Anonymous

How the hell do you know whats in my mind? Do you think you're psychic?

Anonymous

"It is more feasible to judge what is stated. In this instance, it was prior statements that led to the ruling. Whose responsibility is it for saying too much?"

So your point is if Obama had created the same executive order, it would have been constitutional? Now isn't that a scary precedent.

Anonymous

"No Muslims from the banned countries has participated in an attack against the United States."
That's factually incorrect:
http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/318615-white-house-releases-...

The terrorist hot spot list was created by Obama, not Trump. Obama identified the countries.

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