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A narrow, important ruling

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Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2018 10:40 am

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold President Donald Trump’s travel ban was a narrow ruling, but an important one. By deciding not to consider Trump’s anti-Muslim statements while a candidate and not to address the public policy concerns relating to the ban, but instead to analyze the issue from the standpoint of presidential power, the court correctly upheld the principle that as commander-in-chief the president is responsible for protecting U.S. borders.

That is the simple reading of the actual text of Trump’s executive order, which restricts immigration to the United States by citizens from seven countries, including five with Muslim majorities. In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts made clear that the ruling was a narrow one, regarding only the prerogative of the executive: “For more than a century, this Court has recognized that the admission and exclusion of foreign nationals is a ‘fundamental sovereign attribute exercised by the Government’s political departments largely immune from judicial control.’ ”

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