Supremes Lean Toward Trump In Travel Ban Hearing

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
By Paul Martin

KEVIN DALEY
DailyCaller.com
04/25/2018

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared deeply divided Wednesday over the lawfulness of President Donald Trump’s travel sanctions.

Though a tenuous majority appeared to favor the administration, the liberal bloc peppered Solicitor General Noel Francisco with brutal hypotheticals and heart-wrenching examples of migrants denied entry to the United States since Trump took office.

Justice Elena Kagan asked Francisco how thoroughly the court could review a ban on migration from Israel enacted by an openly anti-Semitic president, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wondered why a ten-year-old with cerebral palsy from a sanctioned country was denied a visa, despite exceptions proscribed for immigrants seeking medical care.

The coalition challenging the ban makes two different arguments. Their principal claim is that the sanctions exceed Trump’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of nationality in the issuance of visas. They also claim the administration’s true purpose is to disfavor Islam, in violation of the First Amendment.

In rebuttal, the administration says these proposed limitations “cannot be squared with the statutory text or historical practice [of] past presidents, and would diminish the ability of this and future presidents to use those provisions to protect the United States and conduct foreign affairs.”

The third iteration of the president’s travel sanctions were assessed against various nationals from Chad (which has since been removed from the list), Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. The penalties were crafted through an interagency process that sought to identify states that fail to satisfy specific security and information-sharing criteria. This broad-based review places the proclamation on surer legal ground, a point to which Francisco repeatedly returned during Wednesday’s proceedings.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who likely holds the deciding vote, appeared to agree, noting the order at issue was more detailed than similar proclamations issued by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. He elsewhere rejected hypotheticals proffered by Kagan and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, noting other legal avenues exist to address the abuses envisioned in their scenarios.

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