Barletta Faults Court Rulings Temporarily Blocking Trump’s Executive Order

Mar 16, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today faulted two federal district court rulings temporarily blocking President Donald J. Trump’s executive order suspending travel to the United States from six countries with strong connections to terrorism. The ruling was made only a few hours before the order was slated to go into effect.  The judges cited Trump’s campaign rhetoric as grounds that the order violates the Establishment Clause, claiming that remarks made during the presidential election campaign “betray the executive order’s stated secular purpose.”  This standard of judges using campaign rhetoric to overturn policy is inconsistent with past court decisions, notably the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2012 upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare on the basis that the individual mandate is a tax.

“If campaign rhetoric is a low enough bar to strike down policy, then the Supreme Court should have struck down Obamacare simply because the Obama campaign repeatedly insisted that the individual mandate was not a tax,” Barletta said.  “Instead, the Supreme Court upheld the entirety of the law based on the fact that the individual mandate is a tax.  I’m confident that if this case reaches the Supreme Court, the justices will apply the same standard to overturn this misguided ruling.”

Trump’s executive order, which was to take effect today, would have temporarily suspended immigration from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan, all of which the Obama Administration identified as hotbeds of terrorism.  The order also would have suspended the refugee program for 120 days, explicitly exempting individuals with green cards and visas, and removed all preferences for religious minorities.

“In no way can the order be construed as a ban on any particular religion,” Barletta said.  “There are approximately 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world, and this order affects six of them.  President Trump pulled these six nations from a list created by the Obama Administration identifying terrorist havens.  In fact, the United States does not even have an embassy in four of these six countries.”

“The Trump Administration clearly tailored this new executive order to previous court rulings so that it could pass legal muster,” Barletta added.  “To say that this order intends to accomplish anything other than protecting the American people is to put ideology in front of national security.”