Law School Case Brief
Trump v. Hawaii - 138 S. Ct. 2392 (2018)
The rational basis standard of review considers whether the entry policy of Presidential Proclamation No. 9645 is plausibly related to the government’s stated objective to protect the country and improve vetting processes. As a result, the court may consider extrinsic evidence, but will uphold the policy so long as it can reasonably be understood to result from a justification independent of unconstitutional grounds.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States undergo a vetting process to ensure that they satisfy the numerous requirements for admission. The Act also vests the President with authority to restrict the entry of aliens whenever he finds that their entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Relying on that delegation, the President concluded that it was necessary to impose entry restrictions on nationals of countries that do not share adequate information for an informed entry determination, or that otherwise present national security risks. Presidential Proclamation No. 9645, 82 Fed. Reg. 45161 (2017) (Proclamation). Respondents, the State of Hawaii, individuals with relatives affected by the entry suspension, and the Muslim Association of Hawaii, challenged the application of those entry restrictions to certain aliens abroad.
Did the President have authority under the Act to issue the Proclamation, and did the entry policy violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?
Yes and No.
The presidential proclamation placing entry restrictions on nationals from eight foreign states was a valid exercise of presidential authority under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1182(f) where the President found that their entry was detrimental to the United States' interests; -Even if judicial review of those findings was appropriate, the proclamation described the process, agency evaluations, and recommendation underlying the chosen restrictions and made clear that its conditional restrictions remained in force only so long as necessary to address the identified inadequacies and risks within those nations. Although three individuals had standing to challenge the exclusion of relatives under the Establishment Clause, on rational basis review the proclamation was facially legitimate in that it, inter alia, aimed to prevent the entry of nationals who could not be adequately vetted.
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