The Supreme Court’s decision is consistent with this long-standing precedent. In fairness to the courts and some commentators, there are good-faith reasons to argue against the travel order. Indeed, I predicted at the outset that there would be conflicting decisions in the courts. However, it was the tenor and basis for the decisions that I found disturbing. Courts that once gave President Obama sweeping discretion in the immigration field seemed categorically opposed to considering the same accommodation for President Trump. For commentators, viewers were given a highly distorted view of the existing law — brushing aside decades of cases while supporting the notion that a major federal policy could live or die by the tweet.
The Supreme Court’s stay should cause an examination of more than the lower court decisions. It should concentrate minds in both the courts and the media on the loss of objectivity in analysis over the “immigration ban.” There seemed an inability to separate the policy from the personality in this controversy. That is a serious problem for both institutions. Injunctions come and go. Yet, integrity and objectivity are things that, once lost, are hard to regain.