In the first two weeks of Donald Trump’s Presidency, he issued an Executive Order banning legal immigration and legal refugees from selected mostly-muslim countries. It was blocked by the federal courts, in part because it was badly written and badly implemented, and in part because of numerous problems with legality and constitutionality.
The President abandoned that one, and came back with a second Executive Order two weeks ago. This one was well written and well thought out, and left out some of the more egregious elements found in the first one. A federal judge has blocked this one as well. Here’s why.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump offered up various flavors of anti-Muslim rhetoric, including the promise that he would keep America safe by keeping Muslims out. Now his words have come back to bite him as a federal judge in Hawaii cited these very remarks as evidence that the real purpose of the second muslim ban, as with the first, is religious discrimination, and therefore unconstitutional.
The administration argued that the purpose of the ban had nothing to do with religious discrimination. But the judge was not buying it, in part because the Department of Homeland Security’s own report on the subject says that legal immigrants from the six countries included in the ban pose to special security risk to the United States.
Perhaps Mr. Trump should have chosen a more believable target for his muslim ban; say, Saudi Arabia or Egypt, countries that have a history of sending actual terrorists our way.
No matter how President Trump tries to word the Executive Order to avoid the appearance of it being a religious ban, no objective observer is likely to believe that it is anything other than exactly that.
As much as Mr. Trump may chafe against the power of the judicial branch of our government to thwart him, the federal courts are doing exactly what the authors of the Constitution intended them to do. They are providing a check against a President who has overstepped his constitutional authority. That’s how our checks-and-balances system is supposed to work. And it is.