Even as President Donald Trump lashed out at a federal court ruling issued Friday by labeling the federal judge who ordered it a "so-called judge," the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Saturday morning said it was suspending all enforcement of the controversial executive order on immigration that sparked outrage nationwide.
"President Trump’s attack on a federal judge is inexcusable. Sadly, we have seen a pattern of total disregard for the Constitution and the rule of law in the president’s behavior." —Caroline Fredrickson, American Constitution Society
Late Friday, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, Washington issued a nationwide restraining order against further enforcement of Trump's immigration order which legal analysts and immigration experts say specifically targeted Muslims from the seven specific nations named in the directive.
Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, called the ruling "another stinging rejection of President Trump's unconstitutional Muslim ban."
But in his response to the ruling, Trump took to Twitter early Saturday morning to express his contempt.
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
Just hours later, however, DHS announced it would adhere to Robart's order.
"In accordance with the judge's ruling," said DHS acting press secretary Gillian Christensen in a statement, "DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.' This includes actions to suspend passenger system rules that flag travelers for operational action subject to the Executive Order."
Also on Saturday, the U.S. State Department announced it has reversed the cancellation of visas which followed Trump's executive order. On Friday it was revealed that somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 people from the seven nations named in the order had had their visas applications revoked or approved visas suspended.
— Vince Warren (@VinceWarren) February 4, 2017
"Those individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid," the State Department said in a statement. According to NBC News, both State and DHS are working together to coordinate their activities in order to be sure all those who have the proper paperwork can now travel.
— Omar C. Jadwat (@OmarJadwat) February 4, 2017
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As NPR notes, airlines have been notified of the change and our now reportedly allowing those previously banned to travel.
But while rights advocates celebrated the move, Trump's contempt for being overruled by the court indicated that the legal batter over the Muslim ban is far from over.
When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety &.security - big trouble!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
"You couldn't write fiction more incredible and frightening," legal scholar Marjorie Cohn, former head of the National Lawyers Guild and currently serving as deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, told Common Dreams in an email.
In addition to the worrying and real-life harm being done to individuals and families impacted by Trump's travel ban, Cohn agreed with those arguing there are deeper issues at stake when a president shows such obvious disdain—in this case by personally and publicly denigrating a sitting U.S. judge by calling him "so-called"—for a legal system that depends on the federal court system to honestly and professionally adjudicate such matters.
A president who shows open disrespect for the judiciary needs a basic lesson on the Constitution. And isn't helping himself. https://t.co/4Hn0KxuRxX
— Cecillia Wang (@WangCecillia) February 4, 2017
No "so-called." Judge Robart is a GWB appointee who was confirmed 99-0. We are watching closely your contempt for our Judicial Branch. https://t.co/k1La1mPlHj
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) February 4, 2017
"Donald Trump is learning about separation of powers," explained Cohn. "CEO's don't have courts telling them what they can and cannot do. There is no guarantee, however, that Trump will follow the commands of the federal district judge. Stay tuned."
Meanwhile, Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society, said "President Trump’s attack on a federal judge is inexcusable. Sadly, we have seen a pattern of total disregard for the Constitution and the rule of law in the president’s behavior."
Fredrickson cited Trump's behavior during the 2016 presidential campaign where then-candidate Trump blasted a federal judge for his ethnic heritage. "Now," she said, President Trump "has attacked another federal judge for refusing to bow to political pressure, this after firing the acting Attorney General for the same thing when she refused to defend his discriminatory Muslim ban. We have separation of powers in this country, guaranteed by the Constitution. It is clear President Trump thinks he is above the law. This puts us in very dangerous territory."