Following the attacks in London on Saturday night, President Trump launched a tweet storm calling for the United States to impose his proposed Muslim travel ban, which would prohibit all refugees and citizens of six majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. On Thursday, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to revive his Muslim travel ban, which has been blocked by multiple courts. The Trump administration has filed emergency applications with the nine high court justices seeking to block two different lower court rulings that found the ban was discriminatory. “There is no national security justification that the government has managed to produce here,” says Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Following the attacks in London on Saturday night, President Trump launched a tweet storm this morning and over the weekend, insistently calling for the U.S. to impose his proposed Muslim travel ban. The ban would prohibit all refugees and citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, quote, “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” unquote. Then, this morning, Trump tweeted, quote, “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”
AMY GOODMAN: On Thursday, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to revive his Muslim travel ban, which has been blocked by multiple courts. The Trump administration has filed emergency applications with the nine high court justices seeking to block two different lower court rulings that found the ban was discriminatory. The Supreme Court will deliberate on whether to allow the ban to go into effect. Among other things, it will consider whether Trump’s election campaign rhetoric can be used as evidence that the order was intended to discriminate against Muslims.
For more, we’re joined by Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
It’s great to have you back, Shayana. Why don’t you start off by responding to this tweet storm? For a long time, the Trump administration and his spokespeople were castigating the press, saying this is not a ban, this is about vetting. And now he’s saying, “Call it what it is — a ban — and I want it imposed now.”
SHAYANA KADIDAL: Right. You know, the office that handles the president’s Supreme Court appeals, the Solicitor General’s Office, is relatively apolitical, but I bet that the very nice guy who runs it right now, Jeff Wall, is probably pulling out his remaining hair on this, because one of the few decent sort of issues that they had in this appeal was the idea that somehow because travel ban 2.0 contained the ability to ask for a special waiver — you know, it’s a ban on sort of issuing visas, but you could ask for an individual waiver. And they said, “Well, this means that the plaintiffs aren’t really harmed, because they haven’t asked for waivers yet,” right? And by calling it a ban, I think it certainly makes this look much more like the waiver provision was just inserted there, you know, as something essentially to kind of be able to allow the government to make a standing argument, not to really put holes in what otherwise, in version 1.0, was a flat-out ban.
AMY GOODMAN: So, now, just explain one thing. He is asking the Supreme Court to allow the ban to go into effect while they consider it. Is that right?
SHAYANA KADIDAL: Right, which is a little remarkable, right? It’s always hard to get the Supreme Court’s attention on short notice, but this ban expires a week from Wednesday. And there’s no disagreement between the courts of appeals, which is the usual other thing that gets the Supreme Court’s attention, right? The 9th Circuit, in the Washington and the Hawaii cases, has already — well, I guess, in the Washington case, has weighed in, as well as the 4th Circuit in the Maryland case. So there’s no disagreement among the courts of appeals, either. But the key point is that there’s only a few days left in the original ban anyway.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: But in the meanwhile, though, Shayana, isn’t it the case that Trump has already put in place — or the application, the new application, for visas has been approved, right? Which calls for extreme vetting, which requires applicants to provide social media information and something like 15 years of employment and resident history?
SHAYANA KADIDAL: I haven’t followed the actual procedures that are in place, but the version 2.0 of the ban, the executive order, said that all these new procedures were essentially supposed to be done by the time the ban was set to expire, which, again, you know, is a week from Wednesday.
AMY GOODMAN: It was also quite something that President Trump attacked his own Justice Department, saying the Justice Department should have stayed with the original travel ban, not the watered-down, politically correct version they submitted to SC, or Supreme Court. That’s what he tweeted.
SHAYANA KADIDAL: Right, right, sort of amazing. You know, maybe the only real kind of merits issue that seemed to have a little bit of traction in the academic commentary was the idea that somehow you shouldn’t be allowed to hold a candidate’s statements against him, right? Candidates make sort of, you know, casually tossed-off statements all the time.
And people have asked, you know, “Well, does this — you know, do the court of appeals rulings mean that any restriction on entry from Muslim countries during the next four years is going to be ruled to violate the religion clauses of the Constitution?” And I think that kind of misses the key point, which is that what’s really missing is the other side. There’s no national security justification that the government has managed to produce here. In fact, Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security found that there was no national security rationale for this. And that along with the imminent expiry of the original ban are entirely missing from the solicitor general’s paper. So, if Trump was going to criticize something, maybe that’s what he should have criticized.