The ACLU lawyer wasn’t having a good day.
On Monday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, sitting in Richmond, Virginia, heard oral arguments on an appeal from a Maryland U.S. district court on President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban executive order.
Although the panel appeared divided on the issue, ACLU attorney Omar Jadwat seemed to receive the brunt of push-back from Judge Paul V. Niemeyer on the issue of motive.
Jadwat argued that the court should look beyond the wording contained within the four corners of the executive order and consider statements candidate Trump made on the campaign trail about keeping Muslims out of the country.
“If a different candidate had won the election and then issued this order, I gather you would have no problem with that,” Judge Paul V. Niemeyer said to the lawyer.
When Jedwat danced around the issue a bit, Niemeyer interrupted and restated his question.
“My particular question is, if some other candidate had won the election and issued this executive order that’s before us, I gather you would have no problem with that, is that right?” he asked.
As the lawyer hesitated, then dodged the question by bringing up a separate issue not posed within the question, one could almost see his adam’s apple jump up and down out of nervousness. But the judge wasn’t having it.
“We have a candidate who won the presidency, some candidate other than President Trump won the presidency and then chose to issue this particular order, with whatever counsel he took,” Niemeyer said. “Do I understand that just in that circumstance, the executive order should be honored?”
“Yes, your honor, I think in that case, it could be constitutional,” Jadwat admitted.
Niemeyer was appointed to the U.S. circuit court by former President George H.W. Bush.
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