The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the challenge to Donald Trump’s racist travel ban. The news is…not good:
Supreme Court justices asked tough questions of both sides on Wednesday in weighing President Trump’s authority to impose a travel ban, which restricts entry into the United States from several predominantly Muslims nations, after the president promised during his campaign to impose a “Muslim ban.”
By the end of the argument, though, it was hard to identify five justices ready to vote to strike down the ban.
Immigrant rights groups had hoped that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. or Justice Anthony M. Kennedy would join the court’s four-member liberal wing to oppose the ban. But their questioning was almost uniformly hostile to the challengers.
Justice Kennedy pressed Neal K. Katyal, a lawyer for the challengers, about why courts should second-guess a president’s national security judgments. Chief Justice Roberts posed hypothetical questions about the president’s power to thwart terrorist attacks, and he asked whether Mr. Trump is forever unable to address immigration in light of his campaign statements.
“Is there a statute of limitations on that?” the chief justice asked.
Ah, yes, it’s always great when the Chief Justice of the United States repeats the dumb arguments of third-tier conservative legal bloggers. Obviously, nobody is saying that Trump’s racist statements about the ban are dispositive evidence, just evidence that can be used to evaluate whether the policy unconstitutionally targets religious and/or racial minorities. If the government can show a solid basis that a policy has a neutral justification, Trump’s statements do not make the policy unconstitutional. So, no, Trump’s statements do not take all powers from the executive branch to thwart terrorist attacks and nobody thinks that they do.
Other observers share the view that the ban is likely to survive. Personally, I expected more from the Supreme Court that gutted the Voting Rights A…I’ll come in again. Anyway, the fact that a white nationalist demagogue has retained the support of virtually all influential elite Republicans is a mystery that might never be explained.