Supreme Rebuke for the Judiciary

The High Court tells judges to follow the law, not anti-Trump fashion.

 
 

A view of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
A view of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. PHOTO: JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES
 

The Supreme Court almost never intervenes in a case that appellate courts are still considering, but on Monday it did precisely that to allow President Trump’s third travel ban to take effect. The 7-2 order (with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting) granted the Administration’s request to block the stay of the ban that had been issued by judges in Hawaii and Maryland. The Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal had refused to block the stay, and the Supremes intervened to grant it after the Administration appealed.

This is an important moment for the rule of law. The Supreme Court had already intervened once to rebuke the lower courts over Mr. Trump’s initial travel ban, but judges ignored the warning and kept overturning modified versions with injunctions that blocked their implementation even before considering the merits. Yet the executive has considerable latitude on immigration and national security, as the Justices seem to recognize.

We don’t think the travel ban is wise or necessary policy, but opposition to a policy is not justification for judges to ignore the law. 

Appeared in the December 5, 2017, print edition.

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