Judges Rule! … Never Mind the Constitution

Just yesterday, I had a scintillating chat with one of my left-wing pals in West L.A. It was a doozy. As we sipped our lattes — mine was actually a macchiato, a double, but anyway — she told me how happy she was to see another federal district judge slap down the President of the United States over his newly minted travel ban.

Her reasoning, if one can call it that, boiled down to nothing more than: Donald Trump’s proposed travel ban is a “Muslim ban” because it applies to majority-Muslim countries, and Donald Trump’s rhetoric from the 2016 campaign evidences his animus toward Muslims. That’s it. I know because I asked my friend to repeat her position … twice … shaking my head in dismay.

“You do know that this travel ban applies only to six countries?” I queried. “And that leaves about 90% of the world’s Muslims unaffected?” … here I got a blank stare … and so, continued, “But that doesn’t matter because each of these countries is majority-Muslim, is that correct?” She nodded and tossed in a “Yep!” for emphasis.

Well, this fruit was just too ripe and too low.

“So, even though the President has constitutional and statutory authority, unilateral authority I might add, to restrict immigration into the U.S., this is still a no-no because these countries are majority-Muslim?”

“Yep!”

“So, what if the President restricted travel from a majority-Christian country? Or majority-Hindu? Or majority-Jewish, like say, Israel? In other words, our president cannot restrict entry to the U.S. from any country with a majority religion. Right?”

“I didn’t say that!”

“But if you don’t apply this rule to every country with a majority religion, then you’re singling out Muslims, and you’re applying a religious test of your own … aren’t you?”

“No. Because it’s Trump. He hates Muslims. Just look at what he said in the campaign.”

“So, now we get to the crux of this. The Constitution doesn’t matter. The laws passed by Congress, specifically giving the President this authority, don’t matter. National security doesn’t even matter. The only thing that matters is what Donald Trump said … rhetorically … during the campaign. Really?”

Another blank stare.

“Federal judges get to decide what’s acceptable political rhetoric in this country? What does that do to the First Amendment? All it takes is one federal judge who thinks some candidate’s rhetoric stinks. And based on that … one, single, solitary … federal judge can override the national security policy of a duly elected President of the United States?”

“If Trump’s the president. Pretty much.”

This is what we’re up against … the mind boggles.

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