“Supreme Court’s conservative justices appear to back Trump’s authority for travel ban”

4/25/2018
The Washington Post


“The conservative majority on the Supreme Court seemed to agree Wednesday [April 25] that President Trump has the authority to ban immigrants from certain majority-Muslim countries if he thinks that it is necessary to protect the country.

“Lower courts have struck down each of the three iterations of the president’s travel ban proclamation…But the conservative-leaning Supreme Court may be Trump’s best hope, and it gave the administration a boost by allowing the ban to go into effect in December while considering the challenges to it.

“Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco told the justices that the president was well within his power to issue the proclamation and that it came after a thorough, worldwide review of the vetting procedures of countries.

“…Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was most active in advancing the notion that the president is privy to national security information that courts are ill-prepared to second-guess.

“But Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who always seems to occupy the pivotal position when conservative and liberal justices disagree, asked questions that mostly seemed to support the president’s authority.

“The court is considering the third iteration of Trump’s travel ban, issued last fall, which barred various travelers from eight countries, six of them with Muslim majorities.

“…The challengers are led by the state of Hawaii, which said its citizens and educational institutions have suffered because of the ban.

“Former Obama administration acting solicitor general Neal K. Katyal, representing Hawaii, said that Trump had taken an ‘iron wrecking ball’ to the law Congress had implemented to govern immigration and keep the nation safe.

“…Katyal argued that while the president had great power in immigration decisions, he could not effectively rewrite the law. The ban, he said, also violated the Constitution.

“But some of the justices seemed skeptical that the ban did so. Alito noted that the law said if Trump found the entry of ‘any aliens’ to be detrimental to U.S. interests, he could bar them. 

“…Alito also said the ban only affected 8 percent of the world’s Muslim population. 

“…The justices are reviewing a unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco. That panel said the third version of the travel ban suffered from the deficiencies of the first two — that Trump had again exceeded his lawful authority and that he had not made a legally sufficient finding that entry of those blocked would be ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States.’

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down the ban on the constitutional question. The 9-to-4 decision took a deep dive into Trump’s statements and tweets since he became president, and concluded that the proclamation, like the first two, was motivated not by national security concerns but by antipathy toward Muslims.”

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