Donald Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail to ban Muslims from entering the United States, and his bigoted supporters lapped it up. Now that he is the so-called “president,” those words are coming back to haunt him – big time. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has become the latest element of the judiciary to smack Trump’s ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries down as what it really is – a religious test that violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The 10-3 decision, written up by Judge Roger Gregory, says that the ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination,” and that it goes to the heart of the nation’s founding with a violation of “one of our most cherished founding principles—that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy, or favor or disfavor one religion over another.”
Gregory seemed especially incensed that Trump and his team would try and circumvent the law to make bigotry a part of the nation’s policies and rule of law. Referencing Trump’s incendiary anti-Muslim rhetoric, Gregory said in a lengthy statement:
The statements also reveal President Trump’s intended means of effectuating the ban: by targeting majority-Muslim nations instead of Muslims explicitly. And after courts enjoined [the first travel ban], the statements show how President Trump attempted to preserve its core mission: by issuing [the second travel ban]—a “watered down” version with “the same basic policy outcomes.” … They are explicit statements of purpose and are attributable either to President Trump directly or to his advisors. We need not probe anyone’s heart of hearts to discover the purpose of [the second travel ban], for President Trump and his aides have explained it on numerous occasions and in no uncertain terms.
Judge Gregory is exactly right. We have all the evidence in the world regarding what the purpose of this travel ban was. Besides, with the exception of the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, the ban was supposedly only for 90 days. The purpose of that 90 days was supposed to be to improve the vetting process before resuming the ability of travelers from those nations to enter the United States. It is way past the 90-day mark from the signing of the first Executive Order, so there has been plenty of time for Trump and his national security team to improve the vetting. So, in essence, the issue should be moot by now.
This is how we know that this was never about national security. This was about Trump’s attempting to keep his campaign trail promise that he would ban all Muslims from entering the United States.
Thank you, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for making sure that our founding principles, American values, and basic human decency held under the threat of Donald Trump’s bigoted tyranny.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore via Flickr
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