Famed civil rights attorney Alan Dershowitz said a federal judge's decision Wednesday to halt President Donald Trump's revised travel ban proved "the whole effort to try to clean it up was futile."
"I'm not surprised, because the attitude of the court is there can't be any lawful order as long as candidate Trump said what he said and [former New York City Mayor Rudy] Giuliani said what he said," the Harvard Law School professor emeritus told Erin Burnett on CNN.
"That makes anything that happens thereafter simply a cover for a Muslim ban," he said. "Taking out the religious part of it, which gave religious preference, discriminated against certain groups.
"That didn't matter, because the entire ban, no matter what it says, was badly motivated, then it was struck down."
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii put the revised ban on hold hours before it was scheduled to take effect after hearing arguments President Trump's executive order discriminated based on nationality.
The new ban, issued March 6, was challenged by more than a half-dozen states. Hawaii had requested a temporary restraining order.
The state also argued the order would prevent residents from receiving visits from relatives in the six countries covered by the directive.
Hawaii said the ban would harm its tourism industry and the ability to recruit foreign students and workers.
The new ban applied only to new visas from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen and temporarily shut down the U.S. refugee program.
It did not apply to travelers who already had visas.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle refused to reinstate the original ban, issued on Jan. 27, and did not rule on whether that order discriminated against Muslims.
In discussing Wednesday's decision, Dershowitz referenced comments made by Trump during last year's presidential campaign about banning Muslims from entering the United States, as well as Giuliani's comments to Fox News in January on Trump asking him how to do such a ban "legally."
But Dershowitz added that the Trump administration could eventually win at the Supreme Court, since the justices have taken "exactly the opposite attitude when it comes to looking at motive and intent.
"They said you don't look at motive and intent. You look at the word of the regulation — and that's what the Supreme Court will ultimately hold."
"Even with eight justices, they have a very good chance of winning at the Supreme Court, and if they get their ninth justice in there in a timely way.
"It's almost a certainty they would uphold at least the core of this newly revised travel prohibition," Dershowitz told Burnett. "There's a difference between something being bad as a matter of policy and being unconstitutional."
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