Government Lawyers Ask the Supreme Court to Ignore Trump’s Statements

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Here's something you don't see every day and may not see ever again.

Oral arguments are set to begin at the Supreme Court this week where Trump regime lawyers will be defending Trump's Muslim travel ban, but this case is far from ordinary.

Trump's solicitor general has a unique problem on his hands; he must convince the court to ignore what the president himself has said.

The justices will consider how much weight to give to Mr. Trump’s campaign statements. And they will act in the shadow of their own decision in Korematsu v. United States, which endorsed Roosevelt’s 1942 [Japanese internment] order and is almost universally viewed as a shameful mistake.

The Justice Department has worked hard to limit the damage from Mr. Trump’s campaign statements, which were often extemporaneous and rambling. It was hard to tell, for instance, precisely which Roosevelt policies Mr. Trump referred to or endorsed in his 2015 remarks.

“Impugning the official objective of a formal national security and foreign policy judgment of the president based on campaign trail statements is inappropriate and fraught with intractable difficulties,” Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco told the justices in a brief filed in February.

The solicitor general is apparently going to argue that no one can be sure what the hell the "president" is talking about at any given moment and I suppose there's a kernel of truth to that.

If there is another case in the historical record of government lawyers arguing in front of the Supreme Court -- or any court -- that they should ignore what the president has said, or that the president doesn't understand the words coming out of his own mouth, I am unfamiliar with it.

I have no idea how the court will rule in this case, but I have no doubt that plaintiffs challenging Trump's ban will present a much better argument than the solicitor general.

This is the last case the Supreme Court will hear during their current session. The next session will not begin until October.

  • Christopher Foxx

    The solicitor general is apparently going to argue that no one can be sure what the hell the “president” is talking about at any given moment and I suppose there’s a kernel of truth to that.

    Further lowering of the bar.

  • Draxiar

    “Your honor, as for the Presidents tweets and campaign rally speeches…he didn’t really mean them.”

  • muselet

    Noel Francisco’s argument makes no sense. Courts take intent into account in almost every case—civil or criminal—they hear. Donald Trump’s Muslim ban should not be treated any differently just because Trump blathered a bunch of nonsense before the lawyers drafted his executive order.

    Besides which, the EO is a farrago of Islamophobia and hooey. Trump’s campaign-appearance yammering is relevant to understanding the intent of the EO.

    I don’t think the solicitor general will convince any of the Supremes who don’t already want to be convinced.


    • JMAshby

      I will be drunk on schadenfreude if Gorsuch rules against Trump in this case.

      Gorsuch is conservative, but his vague, libertarian-curious disapproval of government itself occasionally leads him to rule in ways Republicans (or Democrats) don’t approve of.

  • Badgerite

    It’s an executive order. How the hell else is one supposed to assess its true purpose other than to consult the statements of the ‘executive’ who signed it into law? Not to mention that absolute dearth of any evidence that such a ban actually enhances the national security.

    • mnpollio

      ^^This. Agree completely. This Orange Imbecile of the First Order runs his mouth and tweets incessantly without a thought in his rotten melon noggin and the defense is that the world should ignore everything he says and does, because….well, because he is a fool but no one on his team can afford to admit it. So they latch on to minutiae to try to give him “a win”. At this point, anyone who still supports this buffoon and thinks he is competent at carrying out his job (or anything for that matter), is not just misguided, they ARE the problem.