The Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s proclamation banning travel from seven countries today, in a 5 to 4 decision that split along partisan lines, with conservatives in the majority. This entry ban is the third one issued by the administration, after previous ones were overturned by federal courts, and restricts travel from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Chad, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, North Korea and Venezuela. The current ban was also struck down by the district and appeals courts, but the Supreme Court reversed the lower court decisions.
In this case, Trump v. Hawaii, the state of Hawaii, several individuals and a Muslim rights group argued that the restrictions on the six majority-Muslim countries were based on religious prejudice.
The Supreme Court’s upholding of the travel ban is a broad interpretation of presidential power, opposed by some on the right, including many libertarians, as well as the left. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion that Trump’s proclamation was lawful under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which “grants the President broad discretion to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States.” Roberts concluded that the “The Proclamation is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the INA.”
Shortly after the ruling was issued, Trump cheered the Court’s decision on Twitter.
SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2018
Meanwhile, in the president’s home state, Democratic politicians – including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his primary opponent Cynthia Nixon, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – responded to the decision with outrage.
In New York we believe in the words: "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” #NoMuslimBanEver— Andrew Cuomo (@andrewcuomo) June 26, 2018
This is not who we are, and not who we should be. https://t.co/4Hsi7IwlI7
The president’s travel ban doesn’t make us safer, and the Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t make it right. This is a backward and un-American policy that fails to improve our national security.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 26, 2018
Supreme Ct majority disgraced itself again by upholding Trump’s Muslim Ban (Make America Hate Again). This decision has ZERO CREDIBILITY— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) June 26, 2018
New York has the second-largest foreign-born share of its population, after California, including many Muslims. Nonetheless, Republicans in New York have been supportive of various iterations of the travel ban. Rep. Peter King was one of the first to back Trump’s initial travel ban, which the president instituted a week after his inauguration, and which targeted travelers from only majority-Muslim countries. This policy was met by protests across the country, including at New York’s airports.
"I fully support the executive order, I think it was overdue," said King in late January. "The threat comes from within the Muslim community. We can’t be politically correct.”
Most of the recent terrorist attacks or attempted attacks that have occurred in the United States have not been committed by members of the countries listed in the updated travel ban. The ban does not apply to Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001 came from. It also does not include Egypt, from which three of hijackers came, but which, like Saudi Arabia, is a U.S. ally and a large buyer of U.S.-manufactured weapons.
Rep. Chris Collins also supported the initial iteration of the ban, saying it was simply a policy of putting “America First.”
Rep. Tom Reed said on CNN shortly after the ruling was issued that “the Supreme Court issued the right decision,” and that “what we’re focusing on is terrorists and people who want to do harm to American citizens on American soil.”