Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion of Trump v. Hawaii, the case on the third iteration of President Trump’s travel entry ban. This version of the ban was issued as a presidential proclamation in September of last year. It prohibits emigration and restricts travel to America from seven countries, most of which are predominantly Muslim: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela and North Korea. Chad, originally the eighth country on the list, was later removed.
The previous two bans were mostly blocked with court injunctions. This version of the ban was also halted by injunctions in the Ninth and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeals, which both found that it was unconstitutional, but on differing grounds. The Ninth Circuit found that the ban exceeded Mr. Trump’s authority and violated a part of the immigration laws barring discrimination. The Fourth Circuit held the ban was unconstitutional because of religious discrimination. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the ban itself is neutral and advances American national security interests in a policy area typically governed by the executive branch.
This case has been highly controversial since Mr. Trump issued his first travel ban a week after he took office. This is the first time the Supreme Court has considered the merits of a policy so controversial and political that it has essentially consumed the administration since day one.
The decision raises several concerns about religious liberty and the president’s authority, especially given that the Supreme Court did not address the statements Mr. Trump made on his campaign trail in their opinion.
While some Republicans may feel vindicated, others are highly concerned about the implications of the outcome of this case. Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada) has stated that he is "deeply troubled by the appearance of a religious ban. The use of an overly broad executive order is not the way to strengthen national security.” He also encouraged the executive to partner with Congress to come up with a solution.
Now that the judiciary has stepped in, we will have to see how this decision impacts the balance of power between the three branches on national security issues.
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