5 Reasons Supreme Court Upheld Trump’s Immigration Pause

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A sign at the Los Angeles airport. The Supreme Court ruled that President's Trump's immigration pause was not anti-Muslim (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)
Los Angeles airport. The Supreme Court ruled President’s Trump’s immigration pause was not anti-Muslim. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the last version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban against those coming from countries deemed security risks and which do not have adequate vetting processes. Those who fought against it claimed it was a “Muslim ban,” even though not all of the countries listed are Islamic. Further, the ban is meant to be temporary until the U.S. can sort out and establish proper procedures for assessing security risks.

Here are five reasons why the court ruled in favor of the ban:

It is for “legitimate purposes”

Specifically, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, the purpose of the ban was to “[prevent] entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and [induce] other nations to improve their practices.”


It is not anti-Muslim

Roberts  noted that, “The text says nothing about religion.”

Moreover, “not all the countries are Muslim and not all Muslim countries are within the ban,” commented Former Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who personally did not support the ban. “Look, the vast majority of terrorist activities around the world — massive terrorist activities around the world have come from countries like Saudi Arabia and we’re now seeing Syria. Iran is the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world, so I think the opposition is a little overwrought.”


It is within the scope of the president’s authority

The ruling noted the order was “well within executive authority and could have been taken by any other president.” In fact, that executive authority was specifically given to the president through a law passed by Congress – the Immigration and Nationality Act.

In noting the ban was “squarely within the scope of presidential authority,” the justices chastised the overreach of the lower, regional courts and their judges who took it upon themselves to rule against the president’s executive order and about a national matter.

Clarence Thomas called the rulings by these lower courts “legally and historically dubious” and warned them to cut it out.


It is different than the detainment of Japanese-Americans during World War II

Although a minority of judges tried to make the comparison, the majority of judges said the executive order that put Japanese-Americans in internment camps due to fear of espionage could not be compared to Trump’s immigration pause. That order was illegal, the court said because it was made “solely and explicitly on the basis of race.”


It was not a reflection of the President’s controversial tweets or campaign rhetoric

During the presidential campaign, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

In the end, the court viewed that and other incendiary statements from Trump as rhetoric that did not cast doubt on the “official objective” of the immigration pause.

Essentially, the court accepted that as president, Trump’s goal in issuing the order was to protect national security. According to the administration, the countries subject to the ban did not have sophisticated-enough identity-management and information-sharing practices for U.S. authorities to figure whether or not their nationals pose a threat to the U.S. — and that is the reason for the immigration pause.



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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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