By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 30, 2017
There’s a classic joke in which two women are dining at a restaurant. (A version of it appears in Woody Allen’s 1977 movie Annie Hall.) One lady says, “The food at this place is really terrible.” The other lady replies, “I know, and such small portions!”
I couldn’t help but be reminded of this while reading an otherwise sobering essay Saturday night about an executive order that President Donald Trump issued on Friday during a visit to the Pentagon. The document, as much of the world now knows, was designed to bar entry to travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries for three months and to suspend all refugee admissions for six months. It quickly attracted a great deal of outrage, much of it associated with the hashtag #MuslimBan, and led to a series of judicial defeats for the fledgling administration as the ACLU and other civil-rights lawyers filed lawsuits in various federal district courts.
Reports emerged that the executive order had been drafted virtually in secret, without input from the federal lawyers or agencies that normally would vet such administrative initiatives. Informal Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News that the president had asked him and a panel of attorneys, including former George W. Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey and at least one sitting Republican congressman (from Texas, natch) to design a Muslim ban that could pass legal muster.