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Anti-Muslim or Pro-National Security? Supreme Court Takes on Trump Travel Ban

04-25-2018
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WASHINGTON – It looks like President Donald Trump will win his travel ban case, which was heard before the US Supreme Court Wednesday.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy both appeared supportive of the president's travel policy.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked the most pointed questions of Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who defended the policy for the Trump administration.

The three other liberal justices also raised a number of questions, but they will need Roberts or Kennedy to strike down the policy.

The high court must consider whether the president can indefinitely keep people out of the country based on nationality.

The case, Trump v. Hawaii, comes 15 months after Trump first issued the ban, which has since undergone two revisions.

Current countries in the ban include Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Chad, also a Muslim-majority nation, was removed from the list after the Trump administration determined it had improved "its identity-management and information sharing practices."

The Trump administration is asking the court to reverse lower court rulings striking down the policy, which has come under fire for what opponents call anti-Muslim bias.

The president has denied such charges, suggesting the law is a national security measure designed to target jihadists – not Muslims. For example, many Muslim-majority countries are not being targeted by the restrictions.

"Does the president use the kind of language that plays well in a courtroom? No, I don't think so," John Malcolm, vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told NPR.

"But it is the president and not the judiciary that is given primary responsibility for protecting our homeland," he added.

This is the first time the justices are considering whether the ban, which has been in effect since December, violates immigration law or the Constitution.

A ruling is expected by the end of June.

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