Washington, D.C., USA: The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling in Trump v. Hawaii, today, upheld the Trump administration’s travel ban ruling the ban is “squarely within” the president’s authority.
The Supreme Court,also found that plaintiffs challenging the proclamation were unlikely to succeed on their claim that the ban violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The court stated in its majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that Trump had the authority to stop aliens from entering the country.
“Under these circumstances, 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.” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.
Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas filed concurring opinions. Justice Stephen Breyer filed a dissent, joined by Justice Elena Kagan. Justice Sonia Sotomayor also filed a dissent, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
This was the third version of the controversial travel ban, which faced numerous protests and legal challenges.
The ban, which was passed in September 2017 by a presidential proclamation by Donald Trump, as well as two prior versions from March 2017 and to January 2017, was instantly challenged and blocked by several lower US courts.
This version of the ban, which Trump issued through a presidential proclamation last year, limits people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen from traveling to the U.S. Chad was initially included, but the administration removed it from the list in April.
The court’s ruling is a major win for Trump. Several versions of the ban has been repeatedly challenged in court since Trump first issued it last year.
Banning travel to the US from countries which were deemed as posing terrorist threat was one of key promises of the Trump campaign. Critics see the restriction as anti-Muslim and based on a false estimate of the threat posed by the people affected.
Critics have argued that the ban discriminates against immigrants based on their religious background, citing the Muslim majorities making up the populations of the targeted countries and Trump’s statements about Muslim people.
The hearings on the case started in April. In the Tuesday decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump acted within the scope of presidential authority when he issued the travel restrictions.
The administration says that the countries on the ban “remain deficient at this time with respect to their identity-management and information-sharing capabilities, protocols, and practices. In some cases, these countries also have a significant terrorist presence within their territory”.
The state of Hawaii had challenged the ban and a federal judge blocked its implementation.
One of the central issues was Trump’s inflammatory statements about Muslims as a candidate and as president, and whether they could be used to argue the ban is unconstitutional.
In late 2015, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S. ”until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Chief Justice John Roberts spurned that argument in his majority opinion, writing that “the president of the United States possesses an extraordinary power to speak to his fellow citizens and on their behalf.”
“Plaintiffs argue that this president’s words strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance, in violation of our constitutional tradition,” Roberts continued. “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 of executive responsibility.” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent that the majority decision fails to protect religious liberty as a fundamental American principle, and chronicled many of Pres. Trump’s previous comments about Muslims during the campaign.
“Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote.
President Trump called the Supreme Court ruling on travel ban 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.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Supreme Court ruling upholding travel ban: “Today is a great victory for the safety and security of all Americans.”
DHS praised Supreme Court’s travel ban ruling and vowed “to faithfully execute our country’s immigration laws and treat everyone we encounter humanely and with professionalism.”
DNC Chair Tom Perez: “From the Muslim ban to the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, Donald Trump has made tearing families apart a hallmark of his administration and the Republican Party.”
ACLU responded to the Supreme Court’s travel ban decision: “This is not the first time the Court has been wrong, or has allowed official racism and xenophobia to continue rather than standing up to it.”
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel on Supreme Court’s travel ban decision: “Today’s SCOTUS decision isn’t just a win for @realDonaldTrump, it’s a victory for the American people and our national security.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer: “The president’s travel ban doesn’t make us safer, and the Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t make it right. This is a backward and un-American policy that fails to improve our national security.”