Trump Administration, US Constitution at Odds On Travel Ban Directive
Feb 07, 2017 12:31 PM EST
As the outraged Trump administration is prepared to challenge the ruling against its executive order on refugees and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, experts said that the United States is officially being faced with a full-blown constitutional crisis. Marci Hamilton, a constitutional lawyer and scholar of religion at the University of Pennsylvania, calls it an epic confrontation between the presidency and the constitution.
"The moment Donald Trump suggests anyone disobey the federal court order then we will be in a constitutional crisis," he said. The ruling to halt the travel ban was released on Friday night in Seattle by federal judge James Robart. On Saturday, the president abruptly attacked Robart on Twitter, calling him a "so-called judge" and regarding his opinion as "ridiculous" and "will be overturned".
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
Robart declared the entire travel ban unconstitutional, supporting Washington and Minnesota. Although other states were also suing Trump's administration, it was Washington attorney general, Bob Ferguson who argued the widest case, asserting that Trump's executive order violated the guarantee of equal protection and the first amendment's establishment clause, infringed the constitutional right to due process and contravened the federal Immigration and Nationality Act. Hamilton added that the Washington state and others can now go to the next level, in an attempt to turn the victory over the temporary restraining order won in Seattle into a more powerful preliminary injunction which would ultimately lead to a permanent injunction.
Observers were taken aback by the apparent lack of legal groundwork done by the White House aides of Trump's administration, reportedly senior counsel Steve Bannon and policy chief Steven Miller , according to The Guardian. They are the ones who wrote Trump's executive order, producing a lack of clarity which contributed to legal challenges and chaos against the administration.
Hamilton said that the constitutional crisis would have worsened if the Department of Justice decided to file for an emergency stay on Friday night. Since it was avoided, the U.S. is once again open to refugees and people with valid visas from the seven predominantly Muslim countries listed in Trump's executive order. The confrontation between the two sides, however, is expected to continue.