Darrell reviews the Supreme Court’s decision reinstating President Trump’s travel ban on people from Muslim countries.
TRAVEL BAN REINSTATED—WELL SORT OF
Hello this is Darrell Castle with today’s pod cast. Today is Friday June 30, 2017 and on today’s pod cast we will be talking about this week’s Supreme Court’s per Curiam, which means unsigned, decision in what is commonly known as the travel ban case.
The Court unanimously stayed or scaled back most of the relief granted by the lower courts in this case. The case involves an executive order from President Trump to ban new travel visas for travel to the United States for people from six countries—Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The Court halted the stay imposed on the President’s order temporally and agreed to hear the full case in the October 2017 session of the Court.
The Justices stated that the President has a high interest in enforcing issues of national security. “The Government’s interest in enforcing, and the Executive’s authority to do so, are undoubtedly at their peak when there is no tie between the foreign national and the United States.”
The lower courts seemed to find some kind of U.S. Constitutional right that supposedly exists in foreign nationals but the Supreme Court basically said that such a right can be stayed by executive order when the foreign national has no legitimate tie to the United States.
The first circuit to hear this case was the 9th Circuit from an appeal of a Federal District judge in Hawaii. That Judge, who was appointed to the position by former President Obama issued an order in effect countermanding the President’s executive order and the 9th Circuit upheld the Judge’s decision. The 9th is the most overturned circuit in the country. It is based in San Francisco but also sits in other western cities. This case was an easy one for the Supreme Court as the 9th circuit denied the President’s right and duty to protect the interests of the United States and its people and it tried to find or establish rights in foreign nationals where none existed.
Let’s look for a minute at what this decision really means and what its limitations are. President Trump called the ruling “a clear victory for our national security”. “As President I cannot allow people into the country who want to do us harm.” The decision was a unanimous 9-0 but there are various opinions as to its effect. The American Civil Liberties Union suggested that the decision would allow for “only the narrowest implementation of the travel ban that would “tear families apart”. Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch would have let the ban take effect without restriction just as the President signed it.
Justice Thomas said the government made a strong showing of a likelihood of success when the full case is heard in October. The court permitted the administration to impose a 90 day ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen and a 120 day ban on all refugees entering the United States with the following exception: the ban may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.
The exception is very important. The purpose of the ban is to keep out people who hate the United States and its people and who want to do them harm. It might not be all that difficult for those desiring to enter the United States to assert a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Plenty of wannabe terrorists probably have business interests or family members already here. Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito dissented from the portion of the order imposing the restriction. They said the restriction would burden officials with deciding “on peril of contempt” whither those desiring to enter had a credible claim. So that is the threat then. Officials would be held in contempt for violating the restriction, I suppose, if they did so willfully.
The ban is imposed temporarily to give the administration time to review and, if necessary, make adjustments to its vetting procedures. One thing is clear from this—the district court in Hawaii and the 9th circuit court of appeals were so anxious to damage the Trump presidency that they were willing to put that desire ahead of their sworn oath as well as the security of the United 5tates and its people.
Even the Supreme Court, in considering those foreigners seeking to enter the U.S, seems to find a right where none appears to exist. Where does the right of foreign nationals to enter the country come from? I would like to see it or at least to read and study it because I can’t find such a right anywhere. Perhaps they find it in the United Nations membership or in diplomatic agreements or such relationships with other nations. The Justices did, however, seem to rebuke the lower courts from acting as President and concede that such a role should be left to the executive branch.
The most important question is what is meant by the term credible claim, and what is meant by the term bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States? Who will decide what those terms mean and how they are to be applied to applicants for U.S. visas. I presume it will be lawyers and judges who decide. I think, however, that if I were the President of the United States I would handle it like this: Stop all visas and all applications for entry until there is absolute proof to intelligence agency and diplomatic satisfaction that the applicant has a bona fide relationship and is not a threat. I would vet him and everyone he knows in the United States and the country he is leaving. My vetting process would be very extensive and difficult to pass because I would be looking at people who potentially want to kill Americans. I’m sure that well funded groups would sue me but so what. I have a Supreme Court opinion to rely on and I would make my enemies work it back up the line.
Why am I so concerned about this and why would I counsel the President to be so thorough: Because the United States has been bombing these countries with the exception of Iran for decades. Our history with Iran of at least semi war status since 1979 is obvious; bombing countries, killing people, destroying infrastructure and acting as an occupying force causes problems. Those things create hatred and a desire for revenge, not that Islam needs any motivation other than the directive to kill infidels. One simply can’t make war on country after country and continue to invite military age males from those countries to come here unless one is insane, suicidal or homicidal.
According to a cable sent to all U.S. embassies on Wednesday of this week the U.S. is interpreting the decision like this: The applicant must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancées or other extended family members are not considered to be close relations.
This is a very important decision for many reasons such as the role of the executive branch and that of the judiciary, but more than anything else it’s important because the safety and security of the United States and its people are at stake. It’s one thing to have left wing bloggers putting out disinformation and supposedly legitimate news sources, which has now been admitted, putting out stories that they just make up because it brings in revenue. Those things are disturbing enough but we can’t have the highest Federal Courts below the Supreme Court making up fake law. It was good to see the Supreme Court Justices unanimously confirm that.
Finally folks, to conclude this pod cast, the clouds of war across the world are growing darker by the day. The Korean crises could erupt into war at any minute and war seems imminent on the Korean peninsula once again. The situation in Syria never seems to improve much and now we are looking again at confrontation with Russia over a threatened attack on Syrian President Assad. India and Pakistan, both nuclear armed countries, ominously confront each other along their northern border. Pakistan buys much of its weapons from China using money provided by American taxpayers, and China also has sent large numbers of troops to that tri-border region.
Vetting visa applicants seems like a good idea right now.
At least that’s the way I see it.
Until next time folks,
This is Darrell Castle.
Thanks for listening.