Last night, I had the opportunity to listen to Professor Gabriel J. Chin of UC-Davis in a talk titled “President Trump’s Immigration Policy and the Limits of the U.S. Constitution.” Professor Chin outlined previous immigration policies and the power that the Supreme Court has in situations of unconstitutional immigration policy. Professor Chin also outlined, more importantly, what the Supreme Court will do regarding the recent executive order known as the Travel Ban 2.0. This executive order bans travel from 5 Muslim majority countries for 90 days, and bans travel from Syria indefinitely. Given the dialogue from President Trump on the campaign trail, it is clear that this is an attack on Muslims, which violates the First Amendment. This is where the Supreme Court should strike down the executive order, but Chin predicts that this will not be the case.
The Supreme Court is actively trying to avoid hearing a case regarding Trump’s travel ban in order to dodge having to make a decision to hold the executive branch accountable. If the court rules in favor of the executive order, they are sending a message to the American people that this racist ideology is perfectly okay, which hurts their institutional reputation. If the court rules against the travel ban, they will be calling out Trump for his bigoted policies, and creating a clash with the executive branch is something that the Supreme Court would rather dodge.
What is the point of having three separate branches of government if the branches are too afraid to clash with one another? The actions of the Supreme Court attempting to avoid this type of case is contradicting to the entire point of Democracy. Checks and balances are crucial in order to prevent a single position of power. If our system does not work in a way where accountability can be distributed, our nation has failed us.