As part of an ongoing attempt to expose the true intentions behind President Trump’s Muslim ban, the ACLU of Michigan, the Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL) and others filed a motion to compel the White House to turn over a memo from a commission established by Rudolph Giuliani prior to the election to look into ways of legalizing the ban.
The motion comes just days after the Trump administration refused to turn over the memo, arguing, among other things, that the federal courts lacked the authority to force a President to turn over documents.
“The President is not above the law,” said Miriam Aukerman, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan. “The government’s argument—that the courts cannot order President Trump to turn over documents—reflects not only a fundamental disregard for the role of the courts, but a fundamental disregard for the Constitution itself.”
Jason Raofield, a partner at Covington & Burling and counsel for the ACLU, said that the plaintiffs would continue fighting to get the memo:
“The Courts have seen through the pretext. Yet, President Trump continues to deny the obvious truth that this is a Muslim Ban, instead claiming he acted for national security reasons. Until he backs down, we will pursue the evidence to expose his actions for what they are: discriminatory and anti-American. He will try to conceal this evidence, but we will not be deterred.”
Nabih Ayad, founder of the ACRL, questioned the White House’s motives for refusing to make the memo public, after US District Court Judge Victoria Roberts ordered a government response on the memo by May 19th.
“It is disappointing that the Trump administration has refused to turn over the memo,” said Ayad. “It only adds to suspicions about the administration’s motives. Why else has the Trump administration refused to turn the memo over but for the fact that it would show intentional motive by the administration to enact constitutionally prohibited orders that exclude Muslims?”
Meanwhile, Giuliani recently claimed that he did not work with the administration in crafting the ban—although as a Trump campaign advisor, Giuliani openly boasted during television interviews that candidate Trump had reached out to him for advice on how to enact the ban “legally.”
The oorder came following a lawsuit filed in March by the ACLU of Michigan, ACRL, Covington and others. In that same order, Judge Roberts ordered the administration to respond to demands for other documents related to the ban by June 2.
On Thursday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held in a different lawsuit, filed by attorneys for the National ACLU, the ACLU of Maryland, and others, that the President’s revised ban on immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries is unconstitutional.
In addition to attorneys with ACRL, the ACLU of Michigan, and Covington & Burling, the plaintiffs in the case are represented by University of Michigan Law School professors Sam Bagenstos and Margo Schlanger.