By Joe Guzzardi
June 5, 2017
The recent terrorist murders perpetrated in Manchester and London provide a tragic backdrop to the upcoming Supreme Court arguments over President Trump’s proposed refugee travel pause. President Trump has repeatedly said that a short-term ban on travel from six majority Muslim nations is essential so that better vetting procedures can be developed.
Three terrorist attacks in ten weeks have shaken the politically correct UK, and prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to declare that “enough is enough.” Britain, according to May, has already showed too much terrorism tolerance. Unfortunately, May, in her former position as Home Secretary, showed little interest in slowing potential ISIS-inspired attacks. President Trump hopes to avoid similar tragedies in the United States.
Last week, the Justice Department filed two emergency applications requesting that the Supreme Court overrule previous 4th and 9th Circuit Court decisions that blocked President Trump’s administration from implementing his earlier executive orders that restricted travel from Middle East terrorist-sponsoring nations.
Going into Supreme Court arguments, the concern is whether the justices will uphold the Constitution or, as the lower courts did, decide based on campaign statements the president made in the lead up to his election. In last month’s 4th Circuit Court opinion, the majority wrote that while President Trump’s order spoke vaguely about national security, its “context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” Basing legal decisions on campaign rhetoric is unprecedented.
What’s abundantly clear is that President Trump, his predecessors and those who will follow him have the plenary power to limit immigration to anyone, from anywhere, and for any reason, whether it’s for national security or economic reasons.
Furthermore, as legal expert Daniel Horowitz observed, various statutes grant the president the authority to restrict travel. In a 2002 congressional session, a bill that had unanimous support – including former Vice President Biden, former Secretary of State Clinton and former Senate Majority leader Harry Reid – passed; it restricted visa issuance from terrorist sponsoring nations. The law, which Presidents Bush and Obama implemented, is still on the books. Another 2004 law, also overwhelmingly passed, explicitly prohibited courts from adjudicating revocation of visas for anyone seeking entry into the country.
Tougher laws are more important today than after 9/11. Fifteen years ago, the fear was from massive Al Qaeda-style attacks, but today terrorism is more likely to come in the form of Sharia-inspired individuals in rented vehicles focused on killing however many innocents they can in a smaller scale terror attack.
While the law is on President Trump’s side, anything can happen in court. An interesting subplot to the Supreme Court case is whether Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will, as she should, recuse herself. In July 2016, Ginsburg bashed then-candidate Trump when, in a New York Times interview, she said she couldn’t contemplate what the nation would be like under his presidency, inferring that the consequences of his administration were too frightening to think about. Ginsburg made similar comments to the Associated Press. Although Ginsburg later retracted her remarks, many critics agreed that her invective exposed her as too biased to sit on cases involving President Trump that might come before her.
Americans want extreme vetting and the assurances it provides. If maximum security comes at the expense of hurt feelings among the #NeverTrump crowd, that’s a small price to pay.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.