Source: Huffington Post
By Ryan Reilly, who is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter, covering criminal justice
Once again, the president’s own words undermine the legal defense of his travel ban.
WASHINGTON ― In an extraordinary ruling on Thursday, the majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found that “the words of the President” provided “undisputed evidence” of anti-Muslim bias.
In a 9-4 ruling, the federal appeals court held that the third version of Trump’s travel ban ― which limited visitors from six majority-Muslim countries as well as two other nations ― was likely unconstitutional. It was the second federal appeals court to find that Trump’s third travel ban was likely unconstitutional, but both rulings have been put on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the matter this spring.
The 4th Circuit’s majority opinion, written by Chief Judge Roger Gregory, represents yet another instance in which the president’s own words ― and tweets ― have hurt his arguments in court. This has happened to Trump again and again and again.
The 4th Circuit found that Trump had expressed “what any reasonable observer could view as general anti-Muslim bias.” In addition to statements from the campaign trail, the opinion cited Trump’s retweets of anti-Muslim videos posted by a far-right British political party in November as well as this tweet from August:
Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
“The President’s own words ― publicly stating a constitutionally impermissible reason for the Proclamation ― distinguish this case,” the majority found.
While Trump could have “removed the taint of his prior troubling statements,” he hasn’t, the court said. “In fact, instead of taking any actions to cure the ‘taint’ that we found infected [the second executive order laying out a travel ban], President Trump continued to disparage Muslims and the Islamic faith,” it said.