Another Muslim Ban, Another Judicial Smackdown. Sad!
Oyez! New episodes from the hit White House Series So You Think You Can Muslim Ban just dropped! The Season Three opener, Six Venezuelans and Kim Jong Un, started strong with federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland telling Donald Trump once again that his Travel Ban is an illegal piece of crap.
SYTYCMB superfans will remember that Trump's first Muslim Ban was blocked by lower federal courts, and his second order lapsed on the Supreme Court's doorstep. So the White House knew they'd have to tighten it up to keep the excitement going for Season Three.
"Let's add North Korea!" They said, "No Muslims there! Plus Poppy's already been barking vague threats toward Venezuela. If we add backdoor sanctions on a handful of South American Catholics, we can flip off two birds with one stone!" So they patted themselves on the back for being the cleverest little bigots in the land and went about dummying up a justification based on passport security procedures in the banned countries.
But then a nasal voice rang out. It was Rancid Little Weenus Stephen Miller.
"Chad," He whined, "We have to add Chad!" And the State Department shouted, "Are you out of your mind? Chad has helped us fight Islamic terrorists for years!" But they were no match for The Weenus, so Chad got added to the list. And then PLOT TWIST, the government of Chad responded by pulling troops out of the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria. Well played, Weenus!
The Hawaii Order
US District Judge Derrick Watson mostly steered clear of Constitutional issues in his Temporary Restraining Order, relying on the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In 1965, Congress decided to get rid of country-based quotas, which are hella racist, and instead prioritize reunification of families. So Trump and The Weenus can jump up and down shouting NATIONAL SECURITY! SCARY MUSLIMS! all they want, but they can't just take us back to a system based on nation of origin when the law specifically says,
No person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of his race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence[.]
And Judge Watson is not having any of the White House's bullshit about objective criteria based on passport procedures in the banned countries. For instance, Somalia met White House passport requirements, but wound up on the list because reasons. But Belgians, whose passport procedures are a hot mess, can waltz right in. And while Judge Watson is on the subject, he'd like to know why the plaintiff's Syrian granny is too dangerous to visit, but a teenager who was born in Lebanon and then raised in Syria can march right into the consulate and apply for a visa.
Why, it's almost like nationality-based bans are just a gesture designed to show the pitchfork mob that Donald Trump DID TOO do something about those scary Muslim furriners!
Look for Jeff Sessions to reprise his complaints about some uppity "judge sitting on an island in the Pacific." That train is never late.
The Maryland Order
The Maryland Order is less Aloha and more Piss Off You Dotty Orange Racist. And once again, Donald Trump's Twitter feed is Exhibit A. Because if you spend six months tweeting that it IS TOO a Travel Ban ...
... and that you've had it up here with this watered-down, PC bullshit ...
... and your order tells DHS to go find you a list of countries to ban ...
[t]he Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, shall submit to the President a list of countries recommended for inclusion in a Presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of appropriate categories of foreign nationals of countries that have not provided the information requested[.]
... then you're still stuck with all that racist shit you said about a Muslim Ban in the first place, MORON.
As Judge Theodore Chuang put it,
Based on the facts that the Proclamation’s ban generally resembles President Trump’s earlier description of the Muslim ban, EO-2 dictated the Proclamation’s outcome of a recommended list of nations to be subjected to a travel ban, the criteria used to select countries were highly correlated with those used to select the countries for EO-2, the terms of the Proclamation’s travel ban skew against Muslim nations as compared to the objective measures applied in the DHS Review, and the proposed response has not been adequately explained as a necessary one to the identified problem, the Court cannot conclude that the Proclamation sufficiently offers a “purposeful” curative action that establishes that the taint of EO-2 no longer underlies the travel ban.
Translation: STILL A MUSLIM BAN. STILL VIOLATES THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE.
So, now what?
So now, the grownups will litigate and President Diapershits will complain on Twitter. The Trump administration's insistence that the Travel Ban is absolutely necessary for national security got a resounding BITCH, PLEASE from both judges in Hawaii and Maryland. If we were a betting man, we'd guess that an appeals court might grant the president a little more deference. DHS is also getting better at not telegraphing the racism directly, but who knows what Poppy will blurt out when he's at the next Roy Moore rally. Will he snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by shouting, "We're keeping those radical Moozlims out with this new Executive Order?" PROBABLY.
We do live in interesting times!
[Hawaii TRO, via Politico / Maryland TRO / Second EO]
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.