WASHINGTON — President Trump’s second travel ban targeting immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries begins a new round of federal court hearings Monday battling a familiar Achilles’ heel: Candidate Trump.
From Richmond, Va., to Seattle, Wash., federal appeals courts with a majority of judges nominated by Democratic presidents will hear government lawyers defend the revised ban against immigrants and refugees as Trump’s national security prerogative.
Civil liberties and immigrants’ rights groups will contend that the new executive order continues to discriminate against Muslims based on their religion, a violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause — and they will use Trump’s words from the campaign trail as Exhibit A.
It was still 2015 when Trump — before any votes had been cast in primaries and caucuses — called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Those and subsequent comments by Trump and his associates have been used by challengers to prove that regardless of other reasons, the travel ban represents an unconstitutional violation of religious rights.