As Supreme Court hears travel ban, questions of presidential authority also on docket

(Christian Science Monitor) – April 25, 2018 Washington—Disruption has been a hallmark of Donald Trump’s presidency to date, and never was that more apparent than in the hours after he signed his first travel ban executive order.

Drafted and signed with little input from federal officials or White House lawyers, the late-January executive order left travelers stranded around the world, families separated, and federal agencies confused. It also provoked protests, months of legal battles, two new versions of the order, and presidential tweets disparaging the judiciary that had some observers fearing a constitutional crisis.

But the saga could now be nearing its end. The US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in a lawsuit out of Hawaii against the most recent version of the ban. Travel ban 3.0, as it has become known, restricts the entry of almost 150 million nationals from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea, as well as some Venezuelan officials. (President Trump removed Chad from the list of banned countries earlier this month.) Five of those countries have Muslim populations of at least 90 percent, leading critics to claim the ban is Trump’s effort to fulfill his campaign promise of a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US.

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