Photo via Lorie Shaull
One of the earliest and most controversial executive actions of Donald Trump’s presidency — a ban on travel and immigration to the U.S. for residents of select countries — will finally be heard by the Supreme Court this week.
According to the Washington Post, the United States’ highest court will hear arguments for and against the constitutionality of Trump’s travel ban before making a ruling on Wednesday, April 25th. After being rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and two regional appeals courts, the Supreme Court will rule on what is now the third official version of the border-tightening executive order.
Introduced during the first week of Trump’s presidency last year, the so-called travel ban immediately caused confusion, detention, and protest at airports across America, as residents of seven predominantly Muslim countries were denied entry into the U.S., whether or not they possessed proper immigration or visitation paperwork.
While Trump spent much of his presidential campaign publicly insulting people of the Muslim faith and calling for a “ban” on their travel within the States, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the chosen countries did not pose any specific threat, and therefore rejected the executive travel decree. Instead of waiting for the Supreme Court to either support or overrule that decision, though, the Trump administration instead simply revised the travel ban, and repeated that same process again after two local courts rejected the updated order.
Now, more than a year after President Trump first signed off on the order to bar foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen and more from even stepping on U.S. soil, the president’s travel ban will finally be argued at the Supreme Court.
But while the Trump administration has continually amended the countries on the travel ban list and the wording of the executive order, the Supreme Court will be met with the same arguments heard by previous judges. Detractors argue that Trump’s ban is arbitrary other than its racial bias, while defenders simply contend that the commander-in-chief is allowed to block persons from traveling to the U.S. as a part of his executive powers.
“The scope of this court’s decision here will have an impact on this (and future) president’s ability to protect our national security interests as he (and Congress) sees fit,” reads a brief filed by national security experts in support of the travel order. “At the end of the day, it is not the role of the judiciary to intercede in such matters, and this court should clearly say so.”
However protestors of the would-be policy are quick to point out that people from the list’s named countries have not been harbingers of terrorism as the president has repeatedly suggested.
“Not a single person from these countries has killed anyone in a terrorist attack in the United States in over four decades,” states a brief from the the libertarian Cato Institute. “Nationals of the designated countries have also been much less likely to commit other serious crimes than U.S.-born persons or other foreign nationals.”
The case that will make its way to the Supreme Court on Wednesday is brought by the State of Hawaii, and will argue that Trump’s anti-Muslim comments and tweets, combined with a lack of specific evidence about security threats from the listed countries, paint a picture of personal bias rather than policy in the best interest of national security.