To begin with, after the disastrous rollout of the order in which hundreds of travelers were caught at U.S. airports and were denied entry, Secretary Kelly admitted that the order should have been delayed. “In retrospect,” he said, “I should have delayed it just a bit so I could talk to members of Congress.” This is completely incompatible with the arguments that the administration was making to courts at the very same time, that it had to be done immediately, that it could not wait even a few days.

The judge issued a temporary restraining order that would have lasted only a couple of weeks, long enough for him to hear further arguments and evidence. Yet the government argued (PDF) that the judge’s decision “immediately harms the public by thwarting enforcement of an Executive Order issued by the President, based on his national security judgment.”

So would Kelly’s decision to wait have “immediately harmed the public” too? Is there even a real threat? As soon as the order came out, a report by the Cato Institute pointed out that no person from any of the seven countries had ever killed a person in the United States in a terrorist attack, despite hundreds of thousands of people coming to the United States from these nations in recent years. Thus, on its face, the order was not even aimed toward the object it purported to target.