SCOTUS upholds Trump’s travel ban

Herb Boyd | 6/28/2018, midnight
By upholding Trump’s travel ban Tuesday, the Supreme Court has expanded the president’s executive powers.
Supreme Court Richard Jenrette/CNN

By upholding Trump’s travel ban Tuesday, the Supreme Court has expanded the president’s executive powers. Voting along partisan lines, the conservative majority in a 5-4 decision, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority, ruled that the travel bans on six countries is within Trump’s broad powers to act to protect national security.

“Plaintiffs argue that his president’s words strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance, in violation of our constitutional tradition,” Roberts wrote in Trump v. Hawaii, “but the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular president, but also the authority of the presidency itself.”

In the dissenting decision, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, after citing the decision that upheld Japanese internment during World War II, wrote, “A reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus. The majority holds otherwise by ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens.”

Trump hailed the decision as “a tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution.” He added, “This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country.”

The six countries affected by the ban are Yemen, Syria, Iran, Libya, Venezuela and North Korea. Chad was on one of the earlier lists but was removed.

“Today’s decision flies in the face of religious freedom and equality,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. “Past iterations of this discriminatory order were stopped by the courts because this has always undeniably been about imposing a Muslim ban. Barring anyone from our country based on their religion or where they come from means keeping people from life-saving health care and access to higher education, from family members and milestones like weddings, births and graduations.”

She said the NYCLU will be joining other concerned New Yorkers for a rally Thursday evening at Foley Square.

Public Advocate Letitia James was equally angered by the decision and issued the following statement: “In Trump v. Hawaii, the courts upheld a ban that is nothing more than blanket discrimination on the basis of race and religion—a clear violation of every basic principle that we hold dear as Americans.” 

The decision, according to the Rev. Al Sharpton, “marks another outrageous step backwards for religious and racial justice around the globe.”

Sharpton added, “The Supreme Court’s decision to the anti-Muslim bias clearly apparent in this policy is unfathomable—the ban is rooted in islamophobia and has been phonily sold to the American public for the sake of ‘security.’ Trump has made it clear time and time again he wants a migration ban on individuals from all Muslim countries. We at NAN have no patience for the ongoing efforts by this administration to undermine religious freedom, a basic building block of our nation. We will push back at every step and every available juncture on any whiff of intolerance and prejudice.”