A federal judge in Hawai’i spared no rigor in blocking the God-King’s newest Muslim Ban. (More)
“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable”
In a blistering 43-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson pointed to Trump’s own comments and those of his close advisers as evidence that his order was meant to discriminate against Muslims and declared there was a “strong likelihood of success” that those suing would prove the directive violated the Constitution.
Watson declared that “a reasonable, objective observer – enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance – would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion.”
You can read the entire order, but here are the main points:
Indeed, the Government defends the Executive Order principally because of its religiously neutral text – “[i]t applies to six countries that Congress and the prior Administration determined posed special risks of terrorism. [The Executive Order] applies to all individuals in those countries, regardless of their religion.” [Citation omitted] The Government does not stop there. By its reading, the Executive Order could not have been religiously motivated because “the six countries represent only a small fraction of the world’s 50 Muslim-majority nations, and are home to less than 9% of the global Muslim population … [T]he suspension covers every national of those countries, including millions of non-Muslim individuals[.]” [Citation omitted]
The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed. The Court declines to relegate its Establishment Clause analysis to a purely mathematical exercise. See Aziz, 2017 WL 580855, at 9 (rejecting the argument that “the Court cannot infer an anti-Muslim animus because [Executive Order No. 13,769] does not affect all, or even most, Muslims,” because “the Supreme Court has never reduced its Establishment Clause jurisprudence to a mathematical exercise. It is a discriminatory purpose that matters, no matter how inefficient the execution” (citation omitted)). Equally flawed is the notion that the Executive Order cannot be found to have targeted Islam because it applies to all individuals in the six referenced countries. It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7% to 99.8%. It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam. Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the Government does, that it does not.
So much for the ‘not all Muslims!’ defense. Judge Watson then turns his eyes, and ears, to the God-King’s own words:
The Government compounds these shortcomings by suggesting that the Executive Order’s neutral text is what this Court must rely on to evaluate purpose. Govt. Mem. in Opp’n at 42–43 (“[C]ourts may not ‘look behind the exercise of [Executive] discretion’ taken ‘on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason.’”). Only a few weeks ago, the Ninth Circuit commanded otherwise: “It is well established that evidence of purpose beyond the face of the challenged law may be considered in evaluating Establishment and Equal Protection Clause claims.” [Quotations and citations omitted.] The Supreme Court has been even more emphatic: courts may not “turn a blind eye to the context in which [a] policy arose.” [Citation omitted.] “[H]istorical context and ‘the specific sequence of events leading up to’” the adoption of a challenged policy are relevant considerations.
In other words, yes, previous public promises of to ban all Muslims, which then changed to “I’m looking now at territories. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim. Oh, you can’t use the word Muslim. Remember this. And I’m okay with that, because I’m talking territory instead of Muslim,” in conjunction Rudy Giulianni’s public statement “When [Mr. Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’” …
… make the God-King’s intention crystal clear. He wants to ban Muslims, and he’s fishing around for a legal pretext.
Not even the God-King listing three terrorist arrests of Muslim immigrants – out of two-million-plus total Muslim immigrants – escapes Judge Watson’s withering gaze:
To emphasize these points, Plaintiffs assert that the stated national security reasons for the Executive Order are pretextual. Two examples of such pretext include the security rationales set forth in Section 1(h):
“[I]n January 2013, two Iraqi nationals admitted to the United States as refugees in 2009 were sentenced to 40 years and to life in prison, respectively, for multiple terrorism-related offenses.” [Exec. Order] § 1(h). “And in October 2014, a native of Somalia who had been brought to the United States as a child refugee and later became a naturalized United States citizen was sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction[.]” Id. Iraq is no longer included in the ambit of the travel ban, id., and the Order states that a waiver could be granted for a foreign national that is a “young child.” Id. § 3(c)(v).
In other words, those two incidents involved people who would be exempt from this order. How do we spell P-R-E-T-E-X-T?
And then there’s this gem:
Other indicia of pretext asserted by Plaintiffs include the delayed timing of the Executive Order, which detracts from the national security urgency claimed by the Administration, and the Executive Order’s focus on nationality, which could have the paradoxical effect of “bar[ring] entry by a Syrian national who has lived in Switzerland for decades, but not a Swiss national who has immigrated to Syria during its civil war,” revealing a “gross mismatch between the [Executive] Order’s ostensible purpose and its implementation and effects.”
Yep, a hypothetical Swiss citizen who went to Syria to join ISIS would get in just fine, but a hypothetical Syrian citizen who moved to Switzerland 30 years ago would be banned. That makes sooo much sense.
And within hours after Judge Watson issued the decision, the God-King admitted that this new Muslim Ban is just the same old Muslim ban, in different language:
During a campaign-style speech in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump railed against a Hawaii federal judge who put his revised travel ban on hold. The new executive order was set to take effect on Thursday.
“The order he blocked was a watered down version of the first order that was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with,” Trump told the crowd.
Expect Klanmaster General Jeff Sessions’ stooges to claim the God-King didn’t mean that the way it sounded.
“The ‘wrong kind of populism'”
Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. Some would be hit particularly hard, with reductions of more than 20 percent at the Agriculture, Labor and State departments and of more than 30 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.
It would also propose eliminating future federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Within EPA alone, 50 programs and 3,200 positions would be eliminated.
The cuts could represent the widest swath of reductions in federal programs since the drawdown after World War II, probably leading to a sizable cutback in the federal non-military workforce, something White House officials said was one of their goals.
“You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters.
Back when he began peddling that phrase, the God-King meant bankers, lobbyists, and influence-peddlers. But now that he’s stacked his cabinet with bankers, lobbyists, and influence-peddlers, “the swamp” means ordinary civil servants. Just sayin’.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Wednesday that his health-care proposal must change to pass the House, marking a significant retreat from his earlier position that the carefully crafted legislation would fail if substantially altered.
Ryan acknowledged that changes would be made two days after an analysis issued by the Congressional Budget Office prompted a fresh round of criticism of his proposal. Among the report’s projections was that 14 million fewer Americans would be insured after one year under the Republican plan.
“Now that we have our score we can make some necessary improvements and refinements to the bill,” he said, referring to the CBO’s estimate of the effect on the number of those covered by health insurance and what the GOP proposal would cost.
Ryan did not detail what changes are under consideration to his plan.
Back to the cutting board, I guess.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party has won the most seats in parliamentary elections, exit polls say.
Early results confirmed the exit polls, with his centre-right VVD Party on course for 31 out of 150 seats.
Three parties are projected to win 19 seats each: Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV), the Christian Democrats and the D66 party.
Analysts say a high turnout may have benefited pro-EU and liberal parties.
“Today was a celebration of democracy,” Mr Rutte said, adding that the Netherlands had said no to the “wrong kind of populism”.
Expect the God-King to claim this was a surge of illegal voters….
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Good day and good nuts