High court allows Trump travel ban to take effect

Protesters oppose Trump travel ban. (Getty pix)

The Supreme Court today, the last day of its session, lifted lower courts injunctions against President Trump’s executive order restricting travel from six majority-Muslim nations, though its ruling exempted those with existing ties to the U.S. The court said it would hear arguments in the case when it returns in October, though it may be moot by then, because the 90-day ban will have expired.

The justices basically agreed foreigners do not have constitutional rights to enter the country:

But the injunctions reach much further than that: They also bar enforcement of §2(c) against foreign nationals abroad who have no connection to the United States at all. The equities relied on by the lower courts do not balance the same way in that context. Denying entry to such a foreign national does not burden any American party by reason of that party’s relationship with the foreign national. And the courts below did not conclude that exclusion in such circumstances would impose any legally relevant hardship on the foreign national himself. … (“[A]n unadmitted and nonresident alien … ha[s] no constitutional right of entry to this country”). So whatever burdens may result from enforcement of §2(c) against a foreign national who lacks any connection to this country, they are, at a minimum, a good deal less concrete than the hardships identified by the courts below.

At the same time, the Government’s interest in enforcing §2(c), and the Executive’s authority to do so, are undoubtedly at their peak when there is no tie between the foreign national and the United States. Indeed, EO–2 itself distinguishes between foreign nationals who have some connection to this country, and foreign nationals who do not, by establishing a case-by-case waiver system primarily for the benefit of individuals in the former category. … The interest in preserving national security is “an urgent objective of the highest order.” … To prevent the Government from pursuing that objective by enforcing §2(c) against foreign nationals unconnected to the United States would appreciably injure its interests, without alleviating obvious hardship to anyone else.

We accordingly grant the Government’s stay applications in part and narrow the scope of the injunctions …

Trump released a statement applauding the decision:

Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security.  It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.

As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm.  I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.

My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe.  Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation’s homeland.  I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0.

Actually, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, wrote a dissent which argued the injunctions should be lifted in their entirety with no exceptions, because:

Moreover, I fear that the Court’s remedy will prove unworkable. Today’s compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding — on peril of contempt — whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country. … The compromise also will invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved on the merits, as parties and courts struggle to determine what exactly constitutes a “bona fide relationship,” who precisely has a “credible claim” to that relationship, and whether the claimed relationship was formed …

The court partially restored the congressionally dictated power of the executive branch to control immigration.

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