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UPDATE: In Big Win For White House, Supreme Court Upholds President Trump’s Travel Ban

The 5-4 decision is the court’s first substantive ruling on a Trump administration policy

 

Zainab Chaudry (from left), Zainab Arain and Megan Fair with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, stand outside of the Supreme Court for an anti-Trump travel ban rally before oral arguments.

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

In a 5-4 ruling that gave broad leeway to presidential authority, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban that barred nearly all travelers from five mainly Muslim countries.

The president’s proclamation was “squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the INA,'” the court wrote in its majority opinion, referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution,” Trump said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has upheld the clear authority of the President to defend the national security of the United States. In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country.

“This ruling is also 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. As long as I am President, I will defend the sovereignty, safety, and security of the American People, and fight for an immigration system that serves the national interests of the United States and its citizens. Our country will always be safe, secure, and protected on my watch.”

The court seemed to tip its hand at oral arguments in April, when a majority of the justices appeared ready to side with Trump. The court was ruling on what was the third version of the ban, which Trump has complained is a “watered-down” version.

The court allowed it to go into effect while the case was being litigated, but the lower courts had ruled that all three versions either violate federal law or are unconstitutional.

Like the earlier two bans, Version 3.0 bars almost all travelers from five mainly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya — and it adds a ban on travelers from North Korea and government officials from Venezuela.

The court acceded broadly to presidential power. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, noted that the INA exudes deference to the president. The executive order, he wrote, was more detailed than similar orders by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter and defers to the president’s power.

The only thing a president has to signal is that entry for people from various countries would be detrimental to the interest of the United States. The president undoubtedly fulfilled that requirement here, the court noted.

The president, Roberts said, has extraordinary power to express his opinions to the country, as well. The plaintiffs argue that Trump’s past campaign and other statements about Muslims should be taken into account, but the majority said it is not the court’s role to do that.

He added that the order was neutral on its face and that the president was addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. Roberts signaled that the court was balancing not just statements of the president, but the authority of the presidency.

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