In a post on the Ninth Circuit travel ban case, Washington v. Trump, I observed that when the case goes back to the district court, the court will determine whether Trump acted from anti-Muslim animus. If it so finds, then any future national-security action will be subject to an extra layer of judicial review, potentially interfering with the president’s ability to protect the public. “We may have a new regime of heightened judicial review in national security cases because courts believe the president is a bigot.”
Now we get to find out. A district court in Virginia made just this determination in a case called Aziz v. Trump. She declared the national-security justification for the travel ban a sham, and found sufficient evidence of anti-Muslim animus on Trump’s part to issue a preliminary injunction.
The judge denied that her ruling would “render every policy that the president makes related to Muslim-majority countries open to challenge” because the Court’s ruling was based on a particular “sequence of events.” Yet earlier in the opinion, she quoted the Supreme Court’s statement that the “world is not made brand new every morning.” Trump’s statements from his campaign are therefore relevant to the question of whether the travel ban was motivated by animus. But then why won’t they also be relevant to his future anti-Muslim actions? Answer: they will be.