Trump Travel Ban: Another Case of Not Noticing the Unclothed Emperor

As SCOTUS prepares to hear the case of President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travel from six Muslim-majority nations, I must express amazement that no one on either side of this issue seems to have noticed the obvious: The very reason the courts have giving for striking down Trump’s order is the reason why they should have approved it.

Unfortunately, I must first make a disclaimer (unfortunately because there is so much “Yer either with us or agin’ us” thinking these days): I personally do not support a travel ban, and have said so on at least three occasions on this blog, starting in 2015. For instance, I wrote on December 9 of that year,

I recently wrote here in defense of the U.S. accepting Syrian refugees, in agreement with President Obama’s contention that America’s tradition of helping desperate innocents should not be so quickly or easily be curtailed. My stance of course is the same concerning “El Donald’s” call for a moratorium in entry of Muslims to the U.S.; Trump is wrong, on a number of levels.

But the courts that have struck down Trump’s travel ban are equally wrong. Their main point, particularly in the case of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, has concerned intent. The justices contend that Trump’s action was driven by an animus toward Muslims. The appellate court’s opinion mentions the word animus 22 times, and most of the 240-page document is devoted to citations of case law that the court contends give it the right to void a presidential action that is motivated by animus toward an ethnic/religious group.

The court cited various statements made by Trump during the election campaign regarding his view that a temporary travel ban is warranted. But, at least taken at face value, every single one of those statements concerns protection of the security of Americans. All of his comments have been negative, of course, but always in the context of U.S. security, a legitimate motivation.

Of course, one can question whether Trump’s facts are right or not. For instance, he has cited various surveys that claim to show that a disturbing proportion of Muslims support violence and so on. I don’t know enough to pass judgment on the accuracy of those surveys.

It is conceivable that Trump may have some lifelong unhealthy attitude toward Muslims. But the court showed NO evidence of such a thing. Lacking such evidence, it seems to me that the justices were wrong to strike down Trump’s executive order on the basis of intent. The fact that the Fourth Circuit decision split precisely along party lines is troubling.


9 thoughts on “Trump Travel Ban: Another Case of Not Noticing the Unclothed Emperor

  1. My problems with Trump were confirmed when he began using the term “ban”. There is NO ban. Simple as that.

    The original seven countries were identified by Obama’s administration as being escalated in risk (I’d have added a few more, but I didn’t agree with Obama on much) and the idea was that anyone from those countries needed extra screening.

    I am extremely well tied into the Persian communities in Michigan, Arizona and Southern California. I speak Persian well enough to get around, but am far from being fluent. Our next door neighbor’s brother was caught up in this, yet he agreed with the intent. He was allowed into the USA and I gave him an old Nissan Pathfinder that I hadn’t found use for over the past three years, I got him set up as a dishwasher with a friend who owns a Persian restaurant. Then our neighbors (who are also close friends) have gone on to introduce him to the local community.

    All of them agree with the administration’s “extreme vetting” and feel that it protects anyone from those countries by ensuring that bad people don’t slip through into the USA.

    Trump using the term ban yesterday just had me shaking my head. This guy screws up everything, even if the intent is correct, and he has support. Hopefully Dr. Matloff you will see why I was so strident in my concern about Trump during the campaigns. I can’t stand Hillary and she would have been even worse. But we did have other good choices. I can only hope that something good happens. It’s nearly impossible six months later to see what this will be.


  2. We hear so many times about the “animus” or “motivation” for police or other law enforcement stopping or arresting different percentages of different racial or ethnic groups. Yet nobody brings out hard evidence of such animus, it’s merely “assumed” based on who is arresting whom.

    At the same time, when solid evidence of a true bigot is found, authorities will often intentionally ignore it. I just read a book about the OJ Simpson trial, and the prosecution knew a great deal about Det. Fuhrman’s animus against blacks. But they chose to ignore it, since their case depended heavily on his testimony.

    So much is politicized nowadays, that the media and officials can find animus where there is none, while ignoring same where it actually exists. Truth has always been the first casualty of war, and now it’s the first casualty of politics as usual.


  3. I am always perplexed when President Trump is ostracized for asking for a travel ban and President Obama is held up as the beacon of freedom for his position of allowing refugees.

    The Syrian Civil war started in 2011 during the Obama administration. This conflict has created 2 million refugees living within the region. So, how did President Obama with his heart for helping desperate people respond?

    2012 – 31 Syrian refugees
    2013 – 36 Syrian refugees
    2014 – 105 Syrian refugees
    2015 – 1,682 Syrian refugees
    2016 – 12,587 Syrian refugees
    2017 – 3,566 Syrian refugees (so far)

    Check my math, but that’s a tiny percentage of the refugees involved. Lucky for some it became a campaign issue.

    So, President Obama the guiding light of decency admitted fewer than 2,000 refugees from Syria before it became a political issue during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    Professor, I know you’re not math challenged. The number of Syrian refugees admitted during the Obama administration -before it became a campaign issue – is so small it is essentially a statistical rounding error. Could we please admit that President Obama effectively had a refugee ban in place for Syria?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Obama also ended the “wet foot dry foot” policy allowing Cuban refugees to automatically stay in America. I personally thought that should have ended decades ago. Cubans would come to America as refugees and once they got a green card would return to Cuba as tourist, ridiculous.


  4. I support Trump’s travel ban and curtailing immigration is one of the biggest reasons I voted for him. As a minority woman I am “somewhat” protected from the charge of racist, even though I have been called that too, but I no longer care about the name calling. I think Islam is inconsistent with western culture and if it can’t reconcile itself with the western lifestyle they should stay in the middle east. As a minority woman in the west, I am already oppressed enough. I don’t want to see women with their heads bound because the sight of their hair is enough to incite rape by Muslim men. I will not tolerate these attitudes and behaviors and I will not be silent.


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