What Trump's 's---hole' comments could mean for travel ban 3.0

But given his previous call for a “Muslim ban” and other public statements, other experts aren’t sure this latest comment makes much legal difference.

Attorneys fighting the president’s executive action restricting travel in court, connected the president’s latest comment to what they says is a “racist” ideology.

“The travel ban is a de facto quota – a return to a discredited national origin quota system that was in our law until Congress wisely abolished it in 1965,” said Peter Margulies, professor at Roger Williams School of Law. Yesterday’s alleged statement “couldn’t have been a clearer example of what Congress wanted to abolish.”

According to Margulies, the latest travel ban should be struck down in court on statutory grounds as a violation of a 1965 immigration law prohibiting discrimination based on national origin.

In other words, Trump’s comments further clarified what was already unlawful about the ban, he said.

Trump denied that he used "derogatory" language about Haitians, but did not specifically address the comments.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in December that the travel ban, currently in its third iteration, could go into effect while the lower courts continued to hear appeals in the cases.

Later that month, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a Hawaii district court injunction against travel ban 3.0, agreeing with the lower court that the policy violates federal immigration law and exceeds the authority of the executive branch.

But the ban remained in effect, pending the final U.S. Supreme Court review.

Another appeal that was heard in the 4th Circuit is still awaiting a ruling.

Schuck believes Trump’s call for a “Muslim ban” was more legally fraught than his alleged "s---hole" comment, and so he “can’t see the courts focusing on this particular languages as being important, as odious as it is.”

Similarly, Josh Blackman, a constitutional law expert at South Texas College of Law Houston, said "I don't think these statements, as odious as they are, have any bearing on this case."

"As a general matter, I think the president statements are fair game, but in the context of foreign policy judges have to be deferential to the president,” he added.

James Hill and Jack Date contributed to this story.

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