Will Trump’s Recent Conciliatory Speech on Islam Affect Travel Ban Decision?

May 22nd, 2017

This weekend, Trump gave a speech in Saudi Arabia on unifying the world against radical Islamist terrorism and was quite conciliatory and laudatory toward Muslims and Islam. While such an attitude is highly welcomed, it should be noted that it was full of platitudes and facts that should have been made clear during his campaign, such as the many achievements, including cultural and scientific, in the long history of Islam, and the fact that radicalism does not define being Muslim.

It will be interesting to see how his new stance and more positive statements affect the travel ban decision before the appeals courts in the Fourth and Ninth Circuits. The plaintiffs have made the argument that the court should look behind the “facially neutral” statute to statements made by Trump in determining whether there was unconstitutional animus in devising these bans. Does the fact that he made such a speech after the issuance of the travel ban make a difference?

The final burning question is whether Trump will revoke the bans or decide to forgo an appeal to the US Supreme Court of any decisions invaliding the bans. If he is true to his words about most Muslims being law-abiding, then he must do one or the other.