Jon Turley: Trump's Travel Ban Victory Should Force Media to Examine Itself

JONATHAN TURLEY
The Hill
Jun. 27, 2017

Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man knows he is to be hanged ... it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” For opponents of the Trump immigration order, minds became distinctly more concentrated around 11am this morning, when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated much of Trump’s order in a reversal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. While the court will hear the merits in October and could still rule against the administration, these preliminary decisions often reflect a view of underlying merits.

For those of us who have long argued that the legal authority supported Trump, the order was belated but not surprising. However, the order does offer a brief respite for some self-examination for both legal commentators, and frankly, the courts. At times the analysis surrounding the immigration order seemed to drop any pretense of objectivity and took on the character of open Trump bashing.

The Supreme Court ruled the administration could enforce its immigration order under Section 2(c), which deals with the suspension of entry from six countries. The court ordered that the vetting could commence with the exception of “foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The court ruled “when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.” The preliminary ruling on this type of stay indicates that, when the final merits are decided, a majority of the court is likely to make the changes permanent and binding.

Indeed, three justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch — did not want any limitation on lifting the injunction and dissented from that part of the opinion. To use Johnson’s rhetoric, the date of the hanging is set for the October term absent a dramatic shift on the court. That gives us some time to contemplate how this controversy has impacted our core institutions.

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