The Supreme Court just finished hearing oral arguments in the so-called Trump Travel Ban case — the actual case is called Trump vs. Hawaii — and you can get a whiff of the craziness this is bringing out by visiting #NoMuslimBanEver on Twitter. It is best to never be too confident about how decisions break based on oral arguments, but this one looks like another 5-4 win for the administration defending the plenary power of the Executive Branch to enforce immigration law enacted by Congress.
Like so many of these cases, the fate of the Republic seems to rest on the thin, bony shoulders of Anthony Kennedy. There are at least four definite votes to uphold the ban. Four justices seem inclined to strike it down, but one or two of them may be winnable. And Kennedy seemed very sympathetic to the administration:
The Latest: President Trump appears likely to win his travel ban case at the Supreme Court after Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy both signal support for the policy. https://t.co/9VNalxtJ5C
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 25, 2018
The legal claims were utterly specious. The law says:
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
The lawyer challenging the ban argued that banning by nationality is not legal because nationality is not a class. I’m seriously not making that up.
Of course, the 800-pound gorilla in the room–and the reason for the existence of this case–was President Trump and his campaign statements about banning Muslim immigration because never forget that this case is about exactly one thing: Trump. This is simply lawfare that is calculated to try to win political points, to paint the GOP as racist, and to provide fodder for fundraising appeals.