SCOTUS reverses lower courts decisions, sides with Trump’s Muslim travel ban in 5-4 vote
As reported by the Huffington Post’s Willa Frej, the U.S. Supreme Court voted along party lines to back a Trump administration travel ban aimed at closing windows for immigration from predominantly Muslim countries. Announced in September, this particular version of the ban is the result of two different repackagings of its contents, which was initially blocked by lower courts even as the Supreme Court allowed it to be enforced while a court battle raged on.
Trump v. Hawaii saw the State of Hawaii argue that the travel ban was a legal form of discrimination based on nationality, citing Trump’s campaign promises to ban Muslims as evidence. On the other side, the Trump administration couched the ban as an effort to protect the national security of America from potential terrorists.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority decision, “The government has set forth a sufficient national security justification to survive rational basis review… Because there is persuasive evidence that the entry suspension has a legitimate grounding in national security concerns, quite apart from any religious hostility, we must accept that independent justification.”
A legal expert, Cornell University law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr called the ruling “unsurprising,” stating, “Because immigration touches on national sovereignty and foreign relations, courts have generally deferred to the president on immigration issues.”
Becca Heller the director and co-founder of the International Refugee Assistance Project says that the court’s decision was “absolutely devastating, not only for Muslims, who are the primary target of this ban, but for everyone who believes in the freedom of religion… This decision will embolden him even more to discriminate against everyone his administration deems undesirable as we have seen in recent weeks.”