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Listen as lawyers argue travel ban case

Supreme Court justices ask questions on the legality of the Trump administration's travel ban.

Posted: Jun 27, 2018 4:52 AM
Updated: Jun 27, 2018 5:07 AM

President Donald Trump relished a victory at the Supreme Court on Tuesday with uncharacteristic brevity.

"Wow!" was his initial exclamation on Twitter after the court upheld his travel ban.

If the one-word response was joyful, it also reflected a nuanced reality. The court did offer Trump an unequivocal win, determining he was within his authority to protect the country's national security by limiting who comes into the country, just as the immigration debate reaches a boiling point. The 5-4 ruling essentially gave him a green light to express himself however he wishes -- even if that language veers into bigoted or racist speech -- without fear of legal repercussion.

But it did not uphold Trump's original suggestion, made as a candidate in 2015, to enact a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Nor did it uphold the original iteration of the ban, which was rushed out in the first weeks of the administration to widespread confusion and chaos.

Instead, the court upheld what Trump once dismissed as a "watered down, politically correct version," which came after two previous attempts were at least partially struck down.

It was, in part, a victory for a coherent, established agency process overseen by Trump's most hated Cabinet official, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A year-and-a-half after the first attempt, there is little to indicate Trump is following those practices now.

'Vindicated'

Trump felt "vindicated" by the decision, his aides said in the immediate aftermath of the ruling, which came as the administration wages another chaotic battle on immigration, this time involving minors separated from their parents on the southern border. Inside the White House, Trump tweeted his "Wow!" response from his third-floor residence, where he was viewing coverage of the decision on television. Staffers from the White House counsel's office briefed him on the ruling.

In a statement and remarks after the ruling, Trump was triumphant.

"A tremendous success, a tremendous victory for the American people, and for our Constitution," is how he described the ruling in remarks from the Cabinet Room. "We have to be tough and we have to be safe and we have to be secure. At a minimum, we have to make sure that we vet people coming into the country."

"The ruling shows that all of the attacks from the media and the Democrat politicians are wrong, and they've turned out to be very wrong," he said.

The victorious moment came a year-and-a-half after the messy days of the original ban, which was drafted in haste by staffers without the usual input from the Justice Department. Instead, hardline aides Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon helped devise details of the order, including whether green card holders from the seven affected nations -- all Muslim majority -- would be permitted to enter the US. Chaos ensued at American airports, where border agents received little direction and were largely left to interpret the order themselves.

That original ban was swiftly blocked by courts.

A second version was also mired in legal trouble.

The third version, which was upheld on Tuesday, came after months of legal vetting by Justice Department lawyers. It includes two non-Muslim countries, North Korea and Venezuela, and was carefully written on strict national security grounds, which the majority of justices deemed did not exceed Trump's presidential authority.

It provided the highest-profile ruling yet for a court that now includes one of Trump's own selections, Justice Neil Gorsuch, whose place on the bench was a direct result of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to refuse a vote on Merrick Garland, the nominee President Barack Obama put forward in the last year of his tenure. In a victory lap of sorts, McConnell's office posted a photo on Tuesday morning of the Republican senator shaking Gorsuch's hand.

A telling moment

If the ruling was a lesson in the value of adopting an orderly policy process, it came at a telling moment. Trump's most recent executive order, meant to end the practice of separating migrant families at the border, has sown similar chaos among people trying to enter the US. It, too, was drafted hastily at Trump's demand. Miller, a young and outspoken policy adviser, has continued to play a central role.

Just as he publicly wavered over signing a revised travel ban, Trump has questioned in private the wisdom of his family separation order, which has yet to lead to mass reunions of minors and their parents. He has bemoaned the appearance of weakness in backing down from the harsh practice that led to outcry, even from his political allies.

At a rally in South Carolina on Monday, Trump suggested his initial political instinct was to allow the practice to continue.

"I had my own feeling when I heard them talking about the children," he said, continuing later: "I liked it. I said, 'Hey, this is fine for us.' "

Both issues cut to the heart of Trump's appeal as an immigration hardliner and his desire to quickly make good on his campaign promises. But they've also revealed the pitfalls of Trump's gut-driven approach to governing, one that relies on aides with scant federal experience to execute.

If the court victory on Tuesday was a "vindication" in Trump's mind, it was also vindication for Sessions, whose mere presence in rooms and on television has led to periodic fits of anger from Trump. The President has never forgiven his attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, but it was his agency's revisions and legal wrangling that have allowed the measure to persist.

On Tuesday, Sessions was in Los Angeles. When he learned of the decision from a senior staff member, he had a big smile on his face.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 441935

Reported Deaths: 5885
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin918591461
Ramsey39405729
Dakota32551324
Anoka30638354
Washington19827221
Stearns17686184
St. Louis13453237
Scott1178693
Wright11485101
Olmsted1024870
Sherburne812364
Carver686636
Clay643278
Rice595266
Kandiyohi551069
Blue Earth533833
Crow Wing476573
Otter Tail449860
Chisago446331
Benton414885
Winona383946
Douglas370366
Nobles364646
Mower358026
Goodhue340757
Polk326754
McLeod321644
Morrison308743
Beltrami305746
Lyon298735
Itasca281143
Becker279438
Isanti279440
Carlton276942
Steele26879
Pine263813
Freeborn237219
Todd230029
Nicollet222136
Brown212334
Mille Lacs211645
Le Sueur206515
Cass203823
Meeker197433
Waseca187515
Martin168226
Wabasha16712
Roseau164916
Hubbard146937
Redwood138527
Renville136139
Houston133213
Dodge13134
Chippewa130632
Cottonwood125118
Fillmore12084
Wadena118214
Rock108511
Sibley10757
Aitkin106633
Watonwan10548
Faribault103214
Kanabec96818
Pennington95915
Pipestone92522
Yellow Medicine92514
Murray8585
Jackson84510
Swift82617
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6968
Clearwater68114
Lac qui Parle65216
Lake62215
Wilkin6179
Koochiching57910
Lincoln4771
Big Stone4513
Unassigned43568
Grant4247
Norman4218
Mahnomen4077
Kittson36619
Red Lake3154
Traverse2433
Lake of the Woods1741
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 300884

Reported Deaths: 4197
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk44949440
Linn17563269
Scott15228161
Black Hawk13552228
Woodbury12896175
Johnson1191749
Dubuque11229148
Pottawattamie8863112
Dallas874169
Story857433
Webster464768
Cerro Gordo458766
Sioux452451
Clinton445461
Warren430637
Marshall424561
Buena Vista389029
Muscatine382275
Des Moines377340
Plymouth347967
Wapello336796
Jasper315955
Lee310828
Marion298852
Jones268949
Henry262130
Carroll252233
Bremer240048
Crawford227622
Boone214116
Washington213531
Benton207543
Mahaska189936
Jackson189631
Tama184757
Dickinson183225
Delaware171136
Kossuth169241
Clay165319
Wright161724
Fayette157022
Buchanan156920
Hamilton156828
Hardin153129
Harrison152961
Winneshiek150819
Clayton149848
Cedar149119
Butler145423
Page143115
Floyd137236
Cherokee137125
Mills135216
Lyon133132
Poweshiek131024
Hancock127924
Allamakee125927
Iowa122122
Calhoun12159
Jefferson118623
Grundy118522
Winnebago117229
Madison11639
Mitchell114634
Louisa113729
Cass111741
Chickasaw110111
Sac110115
Emmet109931
Appanoose108838
Union107922
Humboldt103919
Guthrie102124
Shelby101026
Franklin99818
Unassigned9370
Palo Alto8969
Keokuk84225
Montgomery82722
Howard81119
Monroe79918
Pocahontas77211
Clarke7717
Ida73530
Greene6837
Davis68221
Adair68120
Lucas6458
Osceola6349
Monona62316
Taylor5889
Worth5873
Fremont5005
Van Buren49112
Decatur4744
Ringgold4229
Wayne41321
Audubon4118
Adams2923
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