Today, the Supreme Court handed down a major ruling and ended a year-and-a-half of pointless, dangerous and indefensible meddling in executive power by federal judges, by upholding President Trump’s right to ban entry to the US of immigrants from a handful of terrorist-plagued nations.
The Court ruled 5-4 that the order was “expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” and “The text says nothing about religion.” Justice Roberts wrote that it was “well within executive authority and could have been taken by any other President—the only question is evaluating the actions of this particular President in promulgating an otherwise valid Proclamation.”
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To block the ruling, lower courts had cited Trump’s campaign rhetoric and other irrelevant issues to try to divine his hidden intentions as racist and anti-Muslim, even though, as the Court noted, such outside comments are irrelevant. What matters is the order itself, which was legal, neutral and contained no racist or anti-Muslim language. (The idea that it did shows how effective and pernicious biased “fake news” can be: even as the SCOTUS was throwing out the challenge as bogus, I noticed that the CNBC web link for its story on it contained the phrase “trump-muslim-travel-ban-case.”)
The ruling also included a remarkable reference to a subject I like to bring up whenever anti-Trumpers accuse him of wanting to put “immigrants” into “concentration camps,” and that’s Franklin Roosevelt's internment of legal immigrants and American citizens of Japanese extraction during World War II. That Democratic icon is still the only President who has ever actually done anything like that, and the Court took the occasion to make it clear that Korematsu v. United States, the ruling okaying FDR’s action, was a real example of federally-sanctioned racism, “gravely wrong on the day it was decided” and “has no place in law under the Constitution.” Which, coincidentally, means it was completely different from Trump’s travel ban order.
Naturally, Democrats are howling that this is a racist and anti-Muslim ruling, despite the fact that it was decided precisely because Trump’s order was NOT racist nor anti-Muslim. It applied only to a handful of countries and not to dozens of other majority Muslim nations. As President, it was his responsibility to protect the US from a known ISIS plot to send sleeper agents into the US to launch attacks on citizens. In blocking that, liberal lower court judges delayed preventative action, endangering countless Americans, and tried to establish a precedent that every federal judge in Podunk had the power to interfere with and block the President taking swift emergency actions to protect national security. It was an insane and outrageous judicial power grab, wrong on the day they did it, and it has no place in law under the Constitution.
The only thing that should be shocking about this ruling is that it was 5-4 instead of 7-0. Four Supreme Court Justices actually believed that federal judges should have the right to conjure up a power for themselves out of thin air to dictate national security policy, based on issues irrelevant to the language of the law or executive order in question. This should be another shock to Republicans to get them to the polls and insure that the right to nominate and confirm judges does not pass to the Democrats. Imagine the damage to the Constitutional separation of powers in this case if Hillary had been in office and nominated her pick for the SCOTUS instead of Neil Gorsuch.
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Of course, that point is moot, since if Hillary had been elected, there would have been no attempt to stop the tide of immigration from terrorist-ridden nations in the first place. Maybe that’s a hypothetical thread that it’s best not to tug on for our own peace of mind.