27 June 2018Hot off the Press
The Supreme Court of the United States upheld President Donald Trump’s policy of denying entry to arrivals from several predominantly Muslim countries on Tuesday.
The decision — Trump v Hawaii (US Sup Ct, No 17-965585, 26 June 2018) — vindicates the President’s powers to control immigration at a time when his administration is under fire over the treatment of migrants and illegal immigrants.
President Trump called the outcome a “tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution”, and said that he will continue to defend the country against terrorism and extremism.
“This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country,” President Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.
In a 5-4 ruling the majority said that President Trump’s history of anti-Muslim sentiment did not undermine his power to secure the country’s borders.
Chief Justice John G Roberts Jr, writing for the majority, said that Congress had delegated to the President sufficient statutory powers to make national security judgments in controlling immigration.
The Chief Justice also said that those challenging the ban had failed to show that it violates the United States Constitution‘s First Amendment prohibition on the government favouring one religion over another.
He acknowledged, however, that the majority expressed “no view on the soundness of the policy.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor gave an impassioned dissent, comparing the decision to Korematsu v United States [No 22], 323 US 214 (1944), which upheld the policy of detaining Japanese-Americans during World War II.
While Justice Sotomayor praised the Court for overturning Korematsu, she said that the Court’s decision “merely replaces one gravely wrong decision with another.”
The decision will aid Mr Trump’s efforts to campaign for Republicans in the upcoming mid-term Congressional elections, which is expected to focus heavily on anti-immigration policies.