For a so-called emergency measure brought in by the Trump administration in its first days in power, the travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries is proving to be a farce.
As a candidate, Donald Trump played to fears of a terrorist attack by Islamic extremists. But his incendiary language on the stump, in which he once called for a "complete shutdown" of Muslims coming to America until the government "can figure out what is going on," conflated the actions of extremists with an entire religion.
His words as a candidate prompted a number of lower courts to block his presidential executive orders creating a limited ban, on the grounds the ban was aimed at a specific religion.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court says it will hear the government's appeal of the lower-court rulings, and that the ban can be enforced in the meantime for travellers who don't have a "bona fide" relationship with the United States. People with families there, or who go for work or school, will still be allowed in.
But here's the farcical part: The Supreme Court will only hear the case in October – because the government didn't ask it to move faster. That's strange, because Mr. Trump insisted in January that a 60-day travel ban was urgently needed so that the government could examine its anti-terrorist screening and vetting procedures. That was six months ago. Why hasn't the review been done?
And why isn't Mr. Trump in a hurry? Quick answer: The reality-TV president prefers the drama of a long fight, co-starring a court system he loves to demonize, to the chance for a quick resolution. There is no urgency, and there never was. There is only Mr. Trump playing to his audience, the consequences be damned.