President Donald Trump, by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals own admission, has the right to determine – in the interests of national security – when and how visitors to the United States should be vetted, allowed, and stopped. Therefore, by the court’s own reasoning, national security is a “valid reason” to enact a TEMPORARY ban on travel from the countries of Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan.
Nevertheless, the court persisted. Last week, the Fourth Circuit determined in a 10-3 ruling that Trump’s travel ban – the revised version that was readied after the original was struck down by the Ninth Circuit – was still unconstitutional. They came to this decision because of comments Trump made on the campaign trail last year, NOT because of anything in the executive order itself.
Numerous newspapers – some of them fiercely anti-Trump in the editorial board room – have questioned the basis for this decision. In an article titled “Fourth Circuit Joins the Resistance,” the Wall Street Journal had this to say about the ruling, which appears to blatantly defy Supreme Court precedent:
The controlling case is Kleindienst v. Mandel (1972), in which the Supreme Court rejected a petition from American scholars seeking admission to the country on behalf of a foreign colleague who had been kept out because he advocated communism. The plaintiffs argued that the government’s refusal to admit their colleague on account of his views violated their First Amendment rights. The justices upheld his exclusion and made three things clear: first, aliens have no constitutional right to enter the U.S.; second, American citizens have no constitutional right to demand entry for aliens; and third, the decision to deny admission to an alien must be upheld if it is based on “a facially legitimate and bona fide reason.”
And even the Washington Post Editorial Board, which never passes up an opportunity to savagely attack the Trump administration, had deep reservations about the logic behind the ruling.
“Much as we find Mr. Trump’s travel ban offensive, imprudent and unwise; much as we believe it inflicts real harm not just on America’s foreign policy objectives but also on families, communities and institutions in the United States, it’s fair to wonder whether it really amounts to an attack on Islam and an affront to the Constitution,” they wrote.
Our courts are supposed to run on the basis of law, precedent, and the U.S. Constitution. So far, in the Trump era (and, to be fair, for quite a while before it) they are being run on the energy of liberal outrage. That’s not okay. This needs to be resolved by the Supreme Court and the judges who made these decisions need to be held accountable for their lawlessness.