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

Lauren Perry
May 15, 2017

It's the first time an appeals court is hearing arguments on the revised travel ban, which is likely destined for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Dennis Shedd asked what would happen if Trump apologized for his previous statements about Muslims and whether that would then allow him to institute his travel ban. The court filing by the Trump administration described the revised order as a "temporary suspension of entry", or a chance to pause and come up with better vetting procedures.

Some seemed prepared to look behind the face of the revised order to take account of Mr. Trump's statements, and several suggested the remarks could doom the order.

"So there really shouldn't be any question as to why the president's doing this in the idea of making sure that we're putting the safety of our country and our people first and foremost".

The Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear an hour of oral arguments in the Trump administration's appeal of a March 16 ruling by Maryland-based federal judge Theodore Chuang.

Donald Trump unleashed a firestorm of criticism from liberals, conservatives and those in between when he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States in December 2015. "That's why it's not a Muslim ban". Amid tough questioning by the judges, Jadwat pointed out that a statement outlining Trumps intention to enact a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S.” was still on his campaign website.

Trumps first attempt to enact a travel ban was blocked by the courts. Who appointed you to the United States supreme court? Judge J Harvie Wilkinson III recused himself as Wall is his son-in-law. Judge Barbara Keenan, who like Harris was appointed by Democratic former President Barack Obama, said the order could affect some 200 million people.

Under legal precedent, Acting Solicitor General of the United States Jeffrey Wall claimed the court can not look back at Trump's remarks if there is a legitimate and bona fide reason for the ban. The order was discriminatory, the courts reasoned, not so much because of what it said but because of what Trump said when he was a candidate.

"There are different ways to read those statements", Wall said of Trump's comments on the campaign trail about Muslims. Judges should have no trouble concluding that such an order would be illegitimate and unconstitutional, he said.

Now, the big question facing judges is whether they should take the executive order at face value, as an action meant to safeguard Americans from potential terrorists, or use President Trump's words to interpret the order as something different: an attempt to ban Muslims from entering the country. In that case, the government is appealing the ruling by Hawaii District Court Judge Derrick Watson that imposes a nationwide preliminary injunction on two provisions of the travel ban: the ban against nationals from six Muslim majority countries for 90 days and the 120-day refugee ban. The Virginia court on Monday was reviewing the Maryland judge's ruling, while an appeals court in San Francisco is set to hear the government's appeal of the Hawaii decision next week. It removed language that would give priority to religious minorities and erased Iraq from the list of banned countries. After his January 27 executive order was enacted, chaos quickly erupted at USA airports and many global hubs around the world, as confused travelers, including green card holders and permanent residents of the US, were stranded and prevented from entering the U.S. "It's not a travel ban", he said at the time. In February, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled the travel ban would not be reinstated, and the White House made a few changes to the text and issued a new one. The Justice Department has the backing in Richmond of around a dozen Republican-led states.

Other reports by VgToday

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