Supreme Court On Trump’s Third Travel Ban

Remember the back and forth over the legality of President Trump’s travel ban?

Trump said it was not a travel ban that targeted muslims but a ban that targeted countries that might send people who posed a risk to the USA.

No one bought that argument because of what he had said previously and because the countries affected were Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela – most of which are countries with majority muslim populations.

Courts ruled against the legality of the ban, and the Trump Administration re-crafted the wording. Courts ruled against that and the Trump Administration re-crafted the wording of the ban again. It is that third iteration that went before the Supreme Court.

What happened in the end?

The Supreme Court first decided that it would proceed as though it had jurisdiction to decide the case even though the granting of visas are matters of sovereignty, and might therefore be seen as being beyond review.

To me that reads like a decision to trundle along and see whether they hit any bumps in the road to their substantive decision. In the end they rule with the Administration, which is unlikely to challenge their jurisdiction, so the court gets home safe and dry.

The substantive decision:

In a 5–4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that the third iteration of the travel ban does not exceed the president’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act and that ban does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

A win for the Administration.

The dissenting voices said that whatever the wording of the ban, when viewed together with what was spoken about by the President and the Administration about the intent of President Trump’s travel ban, it was clearly not about security but about religion.

The question for me is what the practical consequences have been? What is actually happening in terms of who can and cannot get into the country and in terms of who is trying or no longer trying to get in?

Posted by David Bennett

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