Court Hits Pause On Muslim Ban, But Nation Remains On A Precipice

Court Hits Pause On Muslim Ban, But Nation Remains On A Precipice

NEW YORK, NY - (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

As Donald Trump furiously chisels a stop sign onto the Statue of Liberty, the only advantage welcoming Americans have over our xenophobic President might be his own impatience.

On Friday, Donald Trump signed an executive order, halting refugees from getting into the country for 120 days and halting immigration from seven countries for 90 days.

If the whole thing doesn’t violate the Constitution then there is almost no point of having that document. The order establishes a religious test, and even within the unconstitutionally targeted religion, the thing is arbitrary. (Banning Iraq, but not Saudi Arabia, where have I seen this stupid plot line before?)

Thing is, fighting it out in courts takes time, and as he stacks the courts with other people who hate American inclusion, who knows what they will say? Trump was clearly going for something that would “shock and awe” Americans. He probably figured — to the extent that he “figures” things — that cases would be moot by the time they worked their way through the system, or that Americans would submit, or that even if the courts struck him down, he could go back to his rabid, bigoted base and say “I tried, judges stopped me, go do what you have to do.”

But in his rush to be an asshole — and can we stop for a second and think about why somebody would rush to do something like this — Trump made a critical error. “Effective immediately” probably sounds strong and testicular on television when everything needs to get wrapped up before the TiVo stops recording. In real life, it leads to MASSIVE CHAOS when you try to change something as bureaucratic as THE IMMIGRATION SYSTEM, in a day.

Trump basically ruined international air travel for a day. You know, just like the terrorists do sometimes.

More importantly, he caught a number of people with entirely valid visas, green cards, and American citizens with valid U.S. passports in his arbitrary banning of people who aren’t terrorists. Imagine, you’re an American citizen, you’ve been in Somalia, and you tried to come home today only to meet Delta officials at the airport who don’t know if you can go back to your house. Beyond the Constitutional issues, beyond the moral ones, the Trump ban makes NO GODDAMN SENSE. It hasn’t been thought through. Implementation hasn’t been thought through. And nobody got any warning about it, so they couldn’t adjust their plans in a reasonable manner.

That’s why the ACLU was successful in getting an emergency hearing on a Saturday night. U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, in Brooklyn, granted a national stay. The stay simply says that people who had valid papers to enter the country today can not be deported… today. It’s literally the least the courts could do. Somehow, Trump took his signature issue in his bigoted holy war, and turned it into a Monty Python routine: “Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

It’s a nice victory for the ACLU (and, you know, American values), but it’s not a large or final one. The key here was that Trump was idiotic in his implementation. His failure wins the night for his opponents, but the war has just started. Here are some obvious questions that have barely been asked, much less answered:

1. Will Trump respect the Court’s decision? Remember, TRUMP HAS THE ARMY NOW. Sure, the courts say people can’t be deported. What if Trump says “yes, they can.” What if he orders his deportation force to put them on planes? A lot of people protested tonight, and that’s great, but we live in a dictatorship now. What happens when Trump sends in the shock troops?

2. Are those people free to go? The court said they couldn’t be deported. Are they now like Tom Hanks in that one movie where he has to live in an airport? Again, some of these people are American citizens. When will they be treated as such again?

3. Will the Courts actually stop this ban? Donnelly granted a temporary stay. Notwithstanding the triumphant Twitter reports from the ACLU, we haven’t “won” s**t yet.

In fact, in so many ways, we’ve already lost. We’ve already elected this man. We’ve allowed him to take office. We’ve installed a bigot as the leader of the free world, and he’s already turned that nickname into a mockery. In a week he’s stripped America of any shred of “moral authority” we had around the world.

And he’s forcing every American to choose a side. There is no “common ground” between the people who cheered this executive action, and those who felt like today was the most embarrassing day of American history in their lifetimes. There’s no community between people who think JFK is a gateway and those who think it’s a fortress.

The lawsuits are our noble attempts to paper over our differences. But Trump is forcing every American to ask: what will you fight for? What will you die for?

A Federal Judge Just Issued A Stay Against Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban” [MotherJones]

Elie Mystal is an editor of Above the Law and the Legal Editor for More Perfect. He can be reached @ElieNYC on Twitter, or at He will resist.


Published at Sun, 29 Jan 2017 04:26:17 +0000

{articles|100|campaign} Photo
By Pezibear from Pixabay