If President Trump’s executive order banning Muslims from seven Muslim-majority countries is challenged in federal court, there would be legal complications to be argued but it would be struck down as a violation of the First Amendment. So says a constitutional law expert in an interview with The Hanging Shad.
Thomas Keck, the Michael O. Sawyer chair of constitutional law and politics at Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, says the ban, if interpreted as a religious test, would certainly be struck down. “There would be legal complications such as the fact that there are other Muslim-majority countries not included in the ban. There are also provisions [in the executive order] that make allowances for those persecuted on religious grounds.” The practical implication of that is that Christians would get preference, Keck said.
(Full disclosure: Michael Sawyer was my constitutional law professor at the Maxwell School.)
Keck agreed that Rudy Giuliani didn’t help any efforts to see the ban as constitutional when said he was asked how to make a Muslim ban legal. “Giuliani certain made it sound like a Muslim ban,” he said.
Prof. Keck noted that legal challenges to presidential executive orders are not unusual. “There were certainly challenges to Obama’s executive orders as well…” although not in a matter of a few days.
Any legal challenge would likely hinge on whether the orders constitute a “Muslim ban.” Both the president on Twitter and press secretary Sean Spicer have referred to a “ban” until Spicer objected to the term.
Uncertainty reigns across the country as people who have valid visas were unable to enter the country even after federal judges in Boston and elsewhere issued temporary injunctions preventing Homeland Security officials from detaining them.
The Trump administration itself couldn’t decide whether the ban pertained to green card holders or noncitizen permanent residents.