Donald Trump's third travel ban may have a few new bells and whistles but it's the same discriminatory vehicle it ever was. That's the conclusion of some legal scholars and the ACLU, which is asking the Supreme Court to review the latest version of the ban, set to take effect on October 18. The group has also filed a challenge to the ban in a federal court in Maryland. Mother Jones's Pema Levy writes:
Before issuing its third ban, the Department of Homeland Security reviewed its visa vetting procedures to determine which countries could not provide adequate information to the United States when its nationals attempted to immigrate or visit, and sent its recommendations to the president. The result was a ban that is similar to the first and second. The new ban removed Sudan from the list of countries whose residents can’t come to the United States, but replaced it with Chad, another majority-Muslim country with a close working relationship with the United States. It also added North Korea, even though virtually no North Koreans enter the country, and certain members of Venezuela’s government and their families. As Michael Dorf, a constitutional expert at Cornell University Law School, wrote earlier this week, “Ban 3.0 has roughly the same grossly disproportionate impact on Muslims that Bans 1.0 and 2.0 had.” [...]
The justices “have to look at the government’s action through the lens of a reasonable observer who understands the history and context of what’s going on here,” David Cole, the legal director of the ACLU, said in a recent interview on the Slate podcast Amicus. “Our view is that what the president has done here is essentially sought to launder his impermissible purpose, which is the purpose of banning Muslims,” through successful iterations of essentially the same policy. The latest version, he said, “doesn’t change the fact that the target here are Muslims.”
Sure, throw in a couple new countries, remove one, omit overt references to preferencing Christians—that’ll do the trick. Remember, Trump’s first ban was blocked by multiple lower courts as was the second one, a ruling upheld when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that it "drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.” Eventually, the Supreme Court allowed parts of the second ban to take effect as it prepared to hear oral arguments on October 10. Those were cancelled when the Trump administration unveiled 3.0 on September 25, and the Supreme Court asked both parties in the case to weigh in on whether the case should be thrown out. The government argued that it should be but the ACLU argued that it shouldn’t be on grounds that 2.0 and 3.0 are substantively flawed in the same way.