A liberal-dominated federal court has once again blocked an Executive Order by President Trump to temporarily suspend travel to the United States from six terrorist-sponsor states by granting a preliminary injunction blocking the administration from enforcing the Order.
This ruling could be the most insane yet.
The court blocked enforcement of the travel ban based on its finding it constituted a national establishment of religion, and that certain statements made by Trump during the campaign changed the plain wording of the law to make it a ban on Muslims.
The court is wrong.
By interpreting the Order based on campaign statements instead of the plain language of the law, and concluding it constitutes the establishment of a national religion, this could be one of the most disgraceful federal court rulings ever.
Here’s why the court is wrong on its two bogus claims.
In its ruling, the court found, “Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles—that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy…”
Even if one were to accept the premise the Order is a “Muslim ban”, it still does not “establish any religious orthodoxy.”
The Order does not mandate specific forms of worship or establish taxpayer support for any one religion.
A ban on travel by people of other faiths is not a tenant of any known religion.
But the court does not stop there in misinterpreting the First Amendment.
The court goes on to state, “This means, for purposes of standing, we must assume that Section 2(c) violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against governmental ‘establishment of religion.’”
Section 2(c), the court notes, “reinstated the ninety-day suspension of entry for nationals from six countries, eliminating Iraq from the list, but retaining Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (the “Designated Countries”). EO-2, § 2(c). The President, again invoking 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) and also citing 8 U.S.C. § 1185(a), declared that the ‘unrestricted entry’ of nationals from these countries ‘would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.’”
The court’s claims centers on the claim that “detrimental to the interests of the United States” is meant to be interpreted as a statement by the Federal government that admitting practitioners of Islam is not in the nation’s interest.
That’s not based on the clear text of the Order. The Order clearly spells out that the listed nations are all previously-designated State Sponsors of Terrorism.
The court ignored the clear language of the Order and instead re-interpreted it based on statements Trump made during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Much of the court’s ruling centers on the December 9, 2015 Trump press release calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
While Trump did make that statement, Trump’s Executive Order is nothing close to “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
There are 51 nations in the world with majority Muslim populations. 45 are not listed in the Executive Order.
Of the 10 most-heavily Muslim nations in the world, seven are not listed in the Executive Order.
Of the 10 largest majority-Muslim nations in the world, eight are not listed in the Executive Order.
Of the 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, 91 percent are not listed in the Executive Order.
If that’s a Muslim ban, it’s the least effective Muslim ban ever. Both the clear language of the Executive Order and its effective results are nothing remotely close to a “Muslim ban.”
The six named nations were placed under a travel ban based on findings by the Obama administration – that they were state sponsors of terrorism, and residents of those nations were disproportionately more likely to engage in terrorist activity.
The criteria for the travel ban were established by Obama.
In order to fabricate its false conclusion, the court had to ignore the Order’s own legal background and instead create a fictional context.
And that’s where the court gets into dangerous territory. Could Barack Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” now be interpreted as an attempt to financially punish a political opponent, based on his “bankrupt the coal industry” comments made during the 2008 campaign?
Could Obama’s birth control mandate be interpreted as a targeted attack on Christians based on his “bitter clingers” comments?
Both would be dangerous.
Despite Obama’s personal beliefs, laws must be interpreted based on literal language, not hazy context.
Laws remain in place and continue to be enforced long after a president has left office. That’s why courts base their rulings on text, not past context.
By ignoring the clear language of the Order, as well as its literal result, the Court is entering a dangerous world of interpreting laws based on personal interpretation of unconnected context.
Even if one disagrees with Trump on national security and immigration, the court’s ruling is deeply flawed and must be overturned.