By James Ray Owens
Speaking of the judges hearing legal arguments over his immigration and travel ban, Trump said today that even “a bad high school student would rule in his favor.” He may be right. It would take a bad student not to recognize his order is unnecessary and discriminatory, and that he has overstepped his authority. Not to mention the argument that his order goes against the grain of values our country was founded upon.
Trump doesn’t seem to, or refuses to, grasp the idea that the federal judges hearing the case are mulling over the constitutionality of his order. It’s not about him or the great powers he believes he has, it’s about the people the order affects and the constitutionality of the order itself.
First off, it’s discriminatory, and therefore, violates the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment. The claim that it does not discriminate against Muslims or Islam, is false if you look at an earlier Supreme Court ruling. In the case of The Church of Lukumi Aye v. the City of Hialeah, the court ruled that the First Amendment of the Constitution not only forbids obvious targeting of religious entities, it forbids subtle departures from neutrality. Because all seven nations involved in the president’s order are considered Muslim nations, it would seem to violate the First Amendment. There is no neutrality in his order.
Secondly, the president cannot make up indiscriminate laws, bypassing Congress, except in an emergency. There is simply no justification there is an emergency which would allow the president to overstep his intended powers. After the 9/11 attack, President George W Bush was granted emergency powers to restrict air space. The only emergency Trump has to fall back on is his own thinking.
It would seem unconstitutional for Trump to stop the free flow of legal immigration without a pressing emergency present. Yet, the president seems to believe he has the right to declare emergencies, when clearly, there are no such emergencies present.
Finally, Trumps’ un-vetted order is a violation of the separation of powers because without justification or due process, the order places an unnecessary burden on the states and their ability to govern, as well as on the economy.
Trump’s insistence that US presidents have “wide authority” to determine who may enter the country is absurd. He apparently wants it to be true, but it simply is not. His, so called, wide authority, is only true in national emergencies. He has created an emergency, in his own and some people’s minds, with the false claim that the press are not reporting terrorist attacks. Trumps seems delusional and seems to believe a vast majority of Americans are delusional too.
“I think it sad,” he said, “I think it’s a sad day … I listened to a bunch of stuff last night on television that was disgraceful.” What is he even talking about? Was he watching The Apprentice?
If Trump had his way, I’m sure he would replace the federal judges hearing his case with “bad high school students,” but that’s not going to happen. Speaking of students, Trump claims he “was a good student … I comprehend very well. Ok, better than I think almost anybody.”
We have to shake our heads and ask, “did the President of the United States of America just say that?