Just Security Podcast: Harold Koh and Cristina Rodríguez on the Travel Ban

As most of us know, the Supreme Court this week upheld the Trump administration’s travel ban that bars citizens from seven countries, of which, five have a Muslim majority populations, from entering the United States. The court essentially ruled that, because the White House claims it based the latest version of the ban on a detailed review of the national security threat posed by nationals of the seven countries, the ban can stand and the court has no business interfering with the executive branch’s policy. This, despite Trump’s numerous comments that the ban was about keeping Muslims out of the United States.

So what now?

I posed that very question to Yale Law School Professor Harold Koh and Cristina Rodríguez. Between the two of them we discussed the potential for new legislation that would defeat the ban, foreign governments and international organizations working around the ban, and the potential for lower court litigation to turn the ban into “Swiss cheese” by examining its waiver programs, and how its too soon to assume that the deference that the court showed to the White House in this case will be applied to future immigration cases.

We also discussed the bigger question of how this ruling may encourage this administration to use national security as a pretext to justify any number of policy decisions that have little real-world connections to our national security.

(PS. the Roberts footnote I mention in my conversation with Koh can be found on page 37 of the opinion. Make sure to read Both Koh’s and Rodríguez’s articles on the ruling, here and here.)

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Music: Autumn Leaves by Poddington Bear 

About the Author(s)

John Reed

Managing Editor of Just Security (2014-18). Follow him on Twitter (@ReedJustSec).

Harold Hongju Koh

Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School; Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State (2009-13), Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (1998-2001)

Cristina Rodríguez

Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law at Yale Law School, Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice (2011-2013)