Why is the Trump Administration’s Executive Order Muslim Ban Forcing a Constitutional Crisis?

Why is the Trump Administration’s Executive Order Muslim Ban Forcing a Constitutional Crisis? January 29, 2017
(SFO Muslim Ban Protest by Quinn Morton; Source: Flickr, CC by 2.0)
(SFO Muslim Ban Protest by Quinn Morton; Source: Flickr, CC by 2.0)

You too might be exhausted by the constant slacktivism on social media. It lacks and depth and leads to little real change. Yet, paradoxically, the more the latter becomes apparent the cliques click on the internet. I happen to think the world needs contemplative prayer now more than ever.

It’s not my job to get involved in these border skirmishes, even though I sometimes cannot resist strategic trolling of both Democrats and Republicans like Pope Francis has done in his reading of Matthew 25 to some German Lutherans and Catholics:

Meeting a pilgrimage of Catholics and Lutherans from Germany, Pope Francis said he does not like “the contradiction of those who want to defend Christianity in the West, and, on the other hand, are against refugees and other religions.”

“This is not something I’ve read in books, but I see in the newspapers and on television every day,” Pope Francis said.

Answering questions from young people in the group this morning, the pope said, “the sickness or, you can say the sin, that Jesus condemns most is hypocrisy,” which is precisely what is happening when someone claims to be a Christian but does not live according to the teaching of Christ.

“You cannot be a Christian without living like a Christian,” he said. “You cannot be a Christian without practicing the Beatitudes. You cannot be a Christian without doing what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 25.” This is a reference to Christ’s injunction to help the needy by such works of mercy as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and welcoming the stranger.

However, I do believe that it is my job to bring you news and analysis when there is real news and analysis.

What follows is some in-depth expert analysis on the constitutional crisis caused by the so-called “Trump Muslim Ban” from my friend Mattias Caro of Ethika Politika who was actually trained in the law:

The patron saint of lawyers was a despised man himself.
The patron saint of lawyers was a despised man himself.

Courts rarely enjoin the direct, Executive Actions of presidents. To do so potentially signals a major Constitutional issue. After all the courts need the executive to enforce their actions. Courts certainly do enjoin indirect executive actions, especially those

carried through executive agencies. But to act so quickly against a direct, executive order is troubling.

To be clear, the courts are not pushing back on the President’s policy. Rather they have halted his actions in one specific instance of the policy because the implementation of that policy fails to follow the basic guarantees of rights that we maintain through Due Process. Due Process is the first and best bulwark we have against executive and legislative action that denies our ability to get a “fair hearing” before we loose rights. Due process is, what Thomas Moremeant by “I would give the Devil the benefit of the law.” Due Process protects us from legal bullies.

Eight days after he took the oath to support and to defend the constitution, President Trump was stopped cold from violating its provisions. Any conservative, serious or otherwise, needs to take heed. His policies may or may not be xenophobic. His intent may or may not be racist, or against Islam per se. That’s not the disturbing issue that should unite us Americans today.

It is the blatant disregard for the Rule of Law.

Now I’m sure Trump could have or might have consulted his Office of Legal Counsel on this issue. I highly doubt that he did. And even if he did, there is no way any lawyer would recommend a policy with such a clear violation of basic rights. The President has just as much responsibility as the courts to protect basic rights.

Most people when they are new to a job want to “get it right” to make a good first impression. Here there is none of that.

A note to my liberal friends. Don’t overreach your ground. There are legitimate reasons to have concerns about refugees from war-torn regions, especially given the style of warfare being fought today (And those concerns were being addressed through the current vetting process) But a lot of Americans will stand up on the basic deprivation of rights. That is solid common ground.

For those who might ignorantly say that the U.S. Bishops aren’t capable of dealing with situations as urgent as Trump’s executive orders, then you have them both condemning the immigration order:

In response, Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, Texas, the chair of the USCCB’s Committee of Migration and Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, said, “I am disheartened that the president has prioritized building a wall on our border with Mexico. This action will put immigrant lives needlessly in harm’s way. Construction of such a wall will only make migrants, especially vulnerable women and children, more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers.”

The USCCB statement opposing that presidential action noted that the approximately 2,000 mile-long U.S./Mexico border already has 700 miles of fencing and barriers.

It’s good the good bishops highlighted something most people don’t know: a wall is already in place and both Clinton and Obama voted for its extension in the Senate.

And they naturally praised the Trump anti-abortion stance, which actually naturally aligns with classical social justice warrior concerns:

That action by Trump was praised by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said in a statement that day, “We applaud President Trump’s action today to restore the Mexico City Policy, which withholds taxpayer funds from foreign non-governmental organizations that promote or perform abortions overseas, (often in violation of the host country’s own laws).”

New York’s cardinal archbishop, who read a passage from the Book of Wisdom during Trump’s inauguration ceremony, also said of the restoration of the Mexico City Policy, “This is a welcome step toward restoring and enforcing important federal policies that respect the most fundamental human right – the right to life – as well as the long-standing, bipartisan consensus against forcing Americans to participate in the violent act of abortion.”

Yes, we are Catholics first, not Republicans, nor Democrats first.

Here’s the obligatory A Man for All Seasons clip:

Since you’re already here you should also take a look at what the existing (extreme) vetting regime looks like: An Immigration Lawyer Explains the “Extreme Vetting” of the Current Refugee Process

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