US Supreme Court upholds Trump travel ban
5-4 ruling hands president ‘one of his biggest wins since taking office’
The US Supreme Court has upheld Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries.
The court accepted 5-4 the government’s argument that the ban was within the president’s power to craft national security policy and his authority to “suspend entry of aliens into the United States”. The court rejected claims that it was discriminatory and motivated by religious hostility.
The ban targets travellers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, and also includes limited sanctions against North Korean and Venezuelan citizens.
The vote, which brings to an end more than a year of legal back-and-forth, is “a significant victory for the administration and a blow to anti-discrimination advocates” reports The Guardian. The Independent said the court had handed the president “one of his biggest wins since taking office”.
The administration has strongly denied this is a Muslim ban, but Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrant Rights Project, said that the ruling was one of the Court's “great failures”, and likened the decision to the ruling which upheld Japanese-American internment during World War Two.
CNBC says the case has been “central” to the Trump administration's immigration policy, “presenting a key test of the president's campaign promise to restrict immigration and secure America's borders”.
The administration has faced stinging criticism over its policy of separating immigrant families crossing the US-Mexican border, but the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher says this ruling marks a “significant victory for Mr Trump - and for presidential power to set immigration policy in general - albeit by the narrowest of margins”.
The decision once again highlights the Republican slant on the Supreme Court and follows a number of highly contentious rulings this week which have split along party lines.
On Monday the court voted 5-4 to uphold gerrymandered election maps in Texas, ignoring evidence that the maps were drawn to minimise the power of minority voters, also declining to take up a North Carolina gerrymandering case.
Both of decisions “damage voting rights” says David Leonhardt in the New York Times, and were only made possible “because of the unprecedented actions of Republican senators” who blocked Barack Obama’s choice to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat in the run up to the 2016 presidential election, ensuring the 5-4 Republican majority.
This has prompted University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck to write that the court’s current term, “is shaping up to be one of its most ideologically one-sided (and consistently conservative) sessions in a long time.”