The Supreme Court's decision to allow portions of
In doing so the unanimous court affirmed -- at least temporarily, pending a full hearing on the case in the fall -- a president's constitutional authority to determine whether people seeking admittance to the
The court also handed down a second victory, striking a blow against the decades-long discrimination against religious institutions, which the courts have treated as separate and unequal. More about that in a moment.
Some key phrases in the court's ruling will need further definition in the next court term. The court said that immigrants from these six countries will need a job offer, proof of admission to an educational program, or a close family connection in order to be exempt from the 90-day travel ban, or the overall 120-day immigration pause.
What constitutes a close family connection? Would first or second cousins qualify? Suppose a family member is already in the country, but on a terrorist watch list and his brother wants in? Would that be OK? What if the job offer is from a group with ties to terrorism? Would that undermine the purpose of the temporary ban?
Perhaps these questions will be sorted out when the court hears the full case. This decision is significant because it overturned lower court rulings, which had found even the president's modified executive order unconstitutional based largely on his campaign rhetoric and not the
The other case involved
While especially conservative Christians will find much to celebrate in this ruling there are reasons to be cautious. Couldn't radical Muslims use this case to appeal for taxpayer dollars to help build Islamic schools, even mosques?
Another caution should come from history. When taxpayer money is involved, the government frequently seeks to assert itself by regulation and the limitation of speech and activities that go against a secular worldview. In the end, the Lutheran school might have protected itself against such intrusions by raising the money privately.
Still, even with these caveats, the court's two rulings mark a welcome setback to the open borders crowd and those secular progressives who view the expression of any religious view in the public square the way a vampire views a cross. It has been a curiosity of mine that some people believe using God's name as a curse word is speech protected by the
Perhaps the Justices will try to split that legal atom in a future ruling.