Supremes Deal Victory For Trump, Uphold Travel Ban

 

A five-justice majority of the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the latest iteration of President Donald Trump’s travel sanctions Tuesday.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the Court’s opinion, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch.

“The president has lawfully exercised the broad discretion granted to him under [federal law],” Roberts wrote.

A coalition of Democratic states and civil rights groups challenged the September 2017 proclamation, making two basic arguments. They first alleged the sanctions exceeded Trump’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which provides that the president may not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or nationality when issuing visas.

Second, they claimed that the order was issued to disparage Muslims, in violation of the First Amendment’s ban on religious favoritism in government policy.

Though Kennedy joined the high court’s majority opinion in full, he wrote separately to chide Trump for disregarding his constitutional oath.

“There are numerous instances in which the statements and actions of government officials are not subject to judicial scrutiny or intervention,” Kennedy wrote. “That does not mean those officials are free to disregard the Constitution and the rights it proclaims and protects.”

“An anxious world must know that our Government remains committed always to the liberties the Constitution seeks to preserve and protect, so that freedom extends outward, and lasts,” he added.

The current ban is imposed to varying degrees against nationals from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

The majority opinion drew two dissents: one from Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justice Elena Kagan, and a second from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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