The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that President Trump has the authority to ban travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries if he thinks it is necessary to protect the United States, a victory in what has been a priority since Trump’s first weeks in office and a major affirmation of presidential power.
The vote was 5 to 4, with conservatives in the majority and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. finding that a string of unprecedented comments and warnings from Trump about Muslims did not erode the president’s vast powers to control entry into this country.
The president reacted on Twitter: “SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!”
Later, the White House issued a formal response that also took a swipe at Trump’s declared enemies. It called the ruling a “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.”
Lower courts had struck down each of the three iterations of the president’s travel ban, the first of which was issued in January 2017. But the administration said it fortified the order in response to each judicial setback, and it had reason to be optimistic about the Supreme Court, since the justices previously decided to let the ban go into effect while considering the challenges to it.
The ruling was one of a string of 5-to-4 decisions this term in which the justices on the right reasserted themselves, after the addition of Trump-nominated Justice Neil M. Gorsuch last year restored a conservative majority.
The campaign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who for 10 months kept the Republican-controlled Senate from voting on President Barack Obama’s nominee to the court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, celebrated by posting a picture on Twitter.
It was of him shaking hands with Gorsuch.
The current ban, issued last fall, barred various travelers from eight countries, six of them with Muslim majorities. They are Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. Restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela were not part of the challenge. Chad was later removed from the list.
Roberts tried to play down the political aspects of the case, writing that the proclamation that led to the ban “is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority” and noting that its text does not mention religion.
His opinion gave a short history of Trump’s comments about Muslims, starting with a campaign pledge for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” The pledge remained on the campaign website after Trump became president.
Read the full story at The Washington Post