Trump Tweets May Undermine His Travel Ban Defense

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Will the Supreme Court follow President Trump’s tweets on the travel ban case?, asks the National Law Journal. Trump yesterday attacked his own Justice Department’s revised travel ban as “watered down, politically correct,” and pushed for expedited handling of the case by the justices. “The courts are slow and political!” Trump wrote before 7 a.m. Eastern Time, also saying, “In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe.” That statement could telegraph that the ban is no longer necessary. Critics said Trump is undermining his own defense of the executive order, which is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was the first appeals court to rule against the revised ban, and leaned heavily on Trump’s previous comments.

Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who represents Hawaii in a similar challenge in the Ninth Circuit, tweeted, “It’s kinda odd to have the defendant in Hawaii v. Trump acting as our co-counsel. We don’t need the help but will take it!” George Washington University law Prof. Jonathan Turley said, “Government counsel must feel like they have a daily Perry Mason moment with their client jumping up in court screaming incriminating things.” In addition to deciding whether to grant review in the case, the high court may now face a new dilemma: are Trump tweets fair game for citation in Supreme Court rulings? Twitter itself has been cited only once in a Supreme Court case. In a 2016 case on recalling jurors, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, “Immediately after discharge, a juror could text something about the case to a spouse, research an aspect of the evidence on Google, or read reactions to a verdict on Twitter.”

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