Even before Donald Trump entered the White House, many were predicting federal courts would serve as an important check on his use of presidential power, particularly given his aggressive style and a GOP-led Congress that has so far been loath to confront him.
But few expected the first constitutional clash would occur in Trump’s third week on the job.
The legal dispute over Trump’s executive order — which instituted a temporary ban on arrivals to the U.S. of all refugees and citizens from seven mostly Muslim nations — appears headed to the Supreme Court as early as this week.
President Trump’s revised travel ban retreats on nearly every issue that triggered chaos in airports and lawsuits in federal courts across the nation.
It will not apply to foreign students, engineers, tourists and relatives who are traveling to this country or temporarily traveling aboard. It is “prospective in nature — applying only to foreign nationals outside of the United States who do not have a valid visa,” said Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly.
But many critics of the first order were not declaring victory. Instead, they said they would go back to court and argue the order should still be struck down because it discriminates against Muslims.
A staple of President Trump’s early flurry of executive actions was the big reveal – the president seated behind a desk proudly displaying his new edict for the cameras.
On Monday, though, when Trump signed a second order temporarily halting travel from nations deemed to pose a high risk to U.S. security, there was no show of the president affixing his jagged penmanship to an official document. Instead, three Cabinet secretaries spoke publicly blocks from the White House.
Gone was the immediate implementation that triggered chaos the first time, replaced with a 10-day preparation period.
Liberal and conservative legal experts, including those who served in Democratic and Republican presidential administrations, said President Trump's new travel ban has a better chances of surviving legal challenges when compared to his first executive order, which has been held up in federal courts.
Here's what a few of them told the Los Angeles Times:
The new travel ban is tainted by all the same evidence of religious discrimination that doomed the old travel ban. It affects fewer people, and people with fewer ties to the United States, so that makes judicial intervention a bit harder. On the other hand, the way the Trump administration manipulated the roll-out of the new ban according to the ebb and flow of the news cycle undermines the administration's demand for deference on the topic of national security.
Margo Schlanger, University of Michigan law professor and former head of civil rights for the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama
Gold Star father Khizr Khan has canceled a scheduled speech in Toronto after being told his "travel privileges are being reviewed," according to the event organizer.
Khan has lived in the U.S. since 1980 and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
It was unclear which authorities communicated with Khan or what privileges were under review. Yolanda Choates, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, declined to comment about Khan specifically.
The Iranian government, which is often given to flowery denunciations of the "Great Satan," as it calls the United States, reacted mildly to President Trump's new travel ban, which includes Iran among the six nations whose citizens are suspended from entering the United States for 90 days.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said Tehran would wait and see the details of the new executive order and "would react in proportion."
"However, we have already taken our stance regarding the first executive order and it has been released."
Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton has hailed President Trump's new executive order limiting refugee immigration and travel from six majority-Muslim countries.
“The executive order issued today by President Trump is a direct response to an ongoing weakness in the refugee vetting process, which was identified to Congress by multiple federal officials, but left unaddressed by the Obama administration," Paxton said in a statement.
"In light of the looming threat of terrorism, the president has both the constitutional authority and solemn duty to take reasonable steps in securing our border. President Trump’s action shows decisiveness in answer to a very real danger, and I appreciate his efforts to protect the safety and security of Texans and all Americans."
The American Civil Liberties Union, which went to court over the first travel ban, described the new executive order as "still a Muslim ban."
"The Trump administration has conceded that its original Muslim ban was indefensible. Unfortunately, it has replaced it with a scaled-back version that shares the same fatal flaws. The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban," Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement.
"Instead, President Trump has recommitted himself to religious discrimination, and he can expect continued disapproval from both the courts and the people," Jadwat said.
“What's more, the changes the Trump administration has made, and everything we've learned since the original ban rolled out, completely undermine the bogus national security justifications the president has tried to hide behind and only strengthen the case against his unconstitutional executive orders.”
A conservative Christian organization that has filed arguments in court supporting President Trump's first travel ban hailed the new executive order that pauses refugee immigration and travel to the U.S. by nationals of six majority-Muslim countries.
"This to me is a bulletproof order," Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said Monday on his radio show.
Nonetheless, "I do think there will be challenges," Sekulow added.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, one of the first groups to announce it was suing the Trump administration after the first travel ban was signed on Jan. 27, issued a stern condemnation of President Trump's new executive order on immigration and refugees on Monday.
"This executive order, like the last order, is at its core a Muslim ban, which is discriminatory and unconstitutional," Nihad Awad, CAIR executive director, said in a statement.
Lena Masri, an attorney for the organization, said in a statement that the new travel ban is "merely a retooled order aimed at the same long-stated goal of banning Muslims from entering the United States."