AG Ferguson disappointed in Trump’s flippant reaction to judge’s ruling
“He’s a bully and he can’t take defeat like a man.”
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross that statements made by President Trump following a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart on Friday to temporarily halt the travel ban are sad.
On Saturday, President Trump tweeted: “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”
“Calling a federal judge — whatever you think of their decision — a ‘so-called judge,’ it’s insulting to our system of government, the judiciary,” Ferguson said. “It’s not right and frankly, the president is on an island with comments like that.”
Trump continued the sentiment again on Sunday. “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”
Before tweeting about the Super Bowl, Trump wrote, “I have instructed Homeland Security to check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY. The courts are making the job very difficult!”
By Sunday morning, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had denied the Trump administration’s request to set aside Judge Robarts’s ruling.
Ferguson said Trump’s travel ban violates constitutional protections against discrimination based on religion.
“One cannot favor one religion over another and President Trump was crystal clear when he was a candidate for office that he wanted a Muslim ban,” Ferguson said. “As recently as a few days ago, Mayor Giuliani went on the news to say ‘Yeah, the president called me to put together a Muslim ban but find a way to do it legally.’ That’s not how it works.”
“Muslim” does not actually appear in the executive order.
Ferguson said Judge Robart, appointed by President George W. Bush, was very aware of that fact, but the AG argued that “One does not have to say overtly on an executive order or on a law that you’re going to be discriminating against someone.”
“If it is a motivating factor behind why something was implemented, even if on its face the plain language does not necessarily suggest it’s discriminatory, as long as it’s clear the motivating factor or a motivating factor was, as in this case, favoring one religion over another, that makes it unconstitutional.”
There are direct quotes from President Trump during his camp that Ferguson said gave him the evidence he needed to file a claim.
Ferguson said he’s frightened by an argument from the federal government that, “One cannot look behind an executive action at all. Can’t be questioned, can’t look at the motivation, can’t try to understand why they did it.”
The AG doesn’t dispute the authority attached to a president’s executive order, but he also said there are checks and balances that allow a federal judge or attorney general to investigate the motivation.
“That is not the law and frankly, it cannot be the law in our country.”
Ferguson’s office had until 2:59 a.m. EST Monday to submit briefs opposing the government’s request. The Justice Department then had a 6 p.m. EST deadline to respond.