Federal judges issuing rulings on President Donald Trump's executive order on travelers from seven Middle Eastern countries will likely be able to strike down some of its provisions, but not all, constitutional scholar and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz said Monday.
"I do think that they're going to strike down on some of the provisions as unconstitutional as they relate to American persons, people in the country lawfully and people that are permanent residents," Dershowitz told CNN's "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo.
"I think they'll have difficulty striking down some of the provisions that apply to strangers, [such as] a family from Yemen that's never been in the country that applies for a visa. There's no constitutional right to get a visa."
The Constitution determines that Congress "'shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,'" said Dershowitz. "A good lawyer, and there will be good lawyers in this case, can argue that this is a prohibition on not only Congress, but on the president, and here we have a law that establishes religion by preferring Christianity over Islam."
The executive order, he continued, doesn't specify that people of a specific religious group are subject to being banned, Dershowitz said, but "obviously President Trump made it clear that the statute is designed to protect Christians. The answer on the other side is Christians are a persecuted minority in some of these countries, so it's a rational distinction."
Meanwhile, federal justices ruling on the case have one thing in common, and that doesn't mean good things for Trump's order, said Dershowitz: They're all law professors.
"They all taught law," he told Cuomo. "I think they tend to be on the 'liberal' side of this issue."
Meanwhile, Dershowitz believes the Justice Department "foolishly" tried to get a Seattle federal court judge's temporary stay on on the executive order reversed.
Over the weekend, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco turned down the Trump administration's demand to stay the ruling of U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, dealing yet another legal blow to the controversial executive order, Reuters reports.
"They knew they would be turned down and they should never have done that," said Dershowitz. "They should have simply asked to schedule an appeal, which is what the court ultimately did."
Dershowitz also discussed Trump's string of weekend tweets criticizing Robart's decision, noting that the nation's system of checks and balances is "often not pretty," is "so essential to protecting our country when you have one party controlling the white house and one party controlling the Senate or the House."
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