In the biggest ruling of the Supreme Court’s term, the court’s conservative majority upheld President Donald Trump’s travel order, saying there was no question that Mr. Trump had the power to act to restrict the entry of foreign nationals into the United States.
“The Proclamation is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the INA,” the majority opinion noted, referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act.
“The entry suspension is an act that is well within executive authority and could have been taken by any other President,” the court’s opinion stated.
“Under these circumstances, the Government has set forth a sufficient national security justification to survive rational basis review,” though the majority went out its way to make one other note.
“We express no view on the soundness of the policy,” the Chief Justice wrote.
The original Trump travel order barred travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States; it was later modified to include eight nations, not all of which were overwhelmingly Muslim – North Korea, Venezuela, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iran, Chad and Somalia.
In the ruling, the court’s majority rejected criticism that the Trump policy was a “Muslim ban,” writing that the travel order “covers just 8% of the world’s Muslim population and is limited to countries that were previously
designated by Congress or prior administrations as posing national security risks.”
Republicans in the Congress praised the court’s decision, led by the President himself.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling today reinforced what I have said all along: The President of the United States does indeed have the final say when it comes to our immigration policy – as the Constitution provides for, and as Congress has directed,” said Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH).
“He is well within his authority to pass travel restrictions against countries with internal unrest and instability that prevent thorough vetting of individuals,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK).
The President’s travel order had been challenged by the state of Hawaii – their lawyer, Neal Katyal, said he was disappointed by the ruling.
Democrats condemned the ruling.
“The conservative majority of the Supreme Court just legitimized religious animus. Shame,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).
“The Muslim Ban does little for American security and continues to tarnish our global reputation,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH).
“As a country of immigrants that has been a refuge for people from around the world, this decision is contrary to who we are as a nation,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).
“This ruling will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court’s great failures,” the ACLU said in a written statement.
The court’s minority echoed that assessment.
“It leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” because the policy now masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the court’s dissent.