Alan Dershowitz Schools Van Jones on Constitutionality of Travel Ban

Nicholas Fondacaro | March 16, 2017
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Late Wednesday evening, news broke that another liberal judge had put a temporary hold on the implementation of President Donald Trump’s travel ban. And during CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, commentator Van Jones voiced his approval. “An action can be ruled unconstitutional if it's on the face of it, it looks like it's a good thing but there's an intent that's unconstitutional,” he argued, “There's a discriminatory intent here. And the discriminatory intent of the Trump administration is clear.

According to Jones, the reason the travel ban is discriminatory, and thus unconstitutional, is because during the election Trump announced he wanted a Muslim ban. “Donald Trump has said a gazillion and 50 times, I counted, that he wants a Muslim ban,” Jones joked, drawing laughter from the rest of the panel, both left and right-wingers.

But Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz (who disagrees with Trump on the travel ban) found a major conflict in reasoning if the Supreme Court ruled on Trump’s intent as Jones framed it. “If it does, it will have to decide that words in an order can be constitutional when issue by Barack Obama but the very same words unconstitutional when issued by Donald Trump. That makes it very, very personal,” he explained.

Dershowitz reminded viewers that President Obama had selected all of the counties mentioned in the ban for needing additional scrutiny. “Well-motivated not on the basis of a Muslim ban, on the basis of a desire to protect the United States,” he continued, “but that becomes unconstitutional because of what [Trump] said during the campaign.”