Supreme Court upholds travel ban 5-4

  • 26 June 2018
  • NormanL

The Supreme Court upheld the president's travel ban affecting seven majority Muslim nations:

The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s conservatives in the majority.

The court’s decision, a major statement on presidential power, marked the conclusion of a long-running dispute over Mr. Trump’s authority to make good on his campaign promises to secure the nation’s borders.

Just a week after he took office, Mr. Trump issued his first travel ban, causing chaos at the nation’s airports and starting a cascade of lawsuits and appeals. The first ban, drafted in haste, was promptly blocked by courts around the nation.

A second version, issued two months later, fared little better, although the Supreme Court allowed part of it go into effect last June when it agreed to hear the Trump administration’s appeals from court decisions blocking it. But the Supreme Court dismissed those appeals in October after the second ban expired.

From the majority opinion:

...the Government has set forth a sufficient national security justification to survive rational basis review. We express no view on the soundness of the policy. We simply hold today that plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional claim.

And so a president's power to limit entrance to the country on national security grounds -- a policy decision -- is upheld. But there was something else tucked into this opinion worth noting -- it essentially tossed out a 1940s Supreme Court ruling that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War:

Finally, the dissent invokes Korematsu v. United States, 323 U. S. 214 (1944). Whatever rhetorical advantage the dissent may see in doing so, Korematsu has nothing to do with this case. The forcible relocation of U. S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of Presidential authority. But it is wholly inapt to liken that morally repugnant order to a facially neutral policy deny- ing certain foreign nationals the privilege of admission. See post, at 26–28. The entry suspension is an act that is well within executive authority and could have been taken by any other President—the only question is evaluating the actions of this particular President in promulgating an otherwise valid Proclamation.

The dissent’s reference to Korematsu, however, affords this Court the opportunity to make express what is already obvious: Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and—to be clear—“has no place in law under the Constitu- tion.” 323 U. S., at 248 (Jackson, J., dissenting).

That is good to see. The internment is a blot on our history and the specious legal justification for it deserves to be overturned. 

 

 

Categories: 

Comments