A sharply divided Supreme Court on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time) upheld US President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries, rejecting a challenge that it discriminated against Muslims or exceeded his authority. A dissenting justice said the outcome was a historic mistake.
The 5-4 decision is a big victory for Trump on an issue that is central to his presidency, and the court’s first substantive ruling on a Trump administration policy. The president quickly tweeted his reaction: “Wow!”
Politically it is a useful victory for Trump, but it actually achieves little. It is also a reminder of the awful incompetence involved in the earlier bans. The first version of the bans were done by a WH staffer with no involvement by agencies. They were insanely broad and took effect immediately which meant people already on a plane were suddenly told they could not disembark etc.
One can be very much in favour of more secure borders for the US, but not in favour of what is basically a symbolic ban. Banning all travel from a handful of countries does little. This affects just 1% of travelers.
A sensible policy would target immigration rather than travel. Banning all travelers from Iran is silly. The main impact is that no global body can now host a conference in the US.