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The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld President Trump's authority to ban entrants to the U.S. from certain countries.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld President Trump's authority to ban entrants to the U.S. from certain countries. (Michael Reynolds / European Pressphoto Agency)

The third time was the charm. The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the third iteration of President Trump’s travel ban on people from some predominantly Muslim-majority countries was facially neutral and that the government had “set forth a sufficient national security justification” for the policy. That’s the legal threshold. But only an amnesiac would forget the clear animus to immigrants — with a special nasty focus on Muslims — that Trump exhibited on the campaign trail and that that propelled this foolish and counterproductive policy.

One of the first things Trump did after taking office was to act on his campaign statement that he wanted a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the U.S. That position was forged in reaction to violent attacks around the world by Islamic extremists – including the mass shooting in San Bernardino by an American-born Muslim and his Pakistani wife – and the then-raging war against Islamic State, and it was framed by deplorable perceptions among Trump and his nativist advisors that the actions of the few indicted the many.

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  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
The Supreme Court sent a case from Washington state about a florist back to a lower court.
The Supreme Court sent a case from Washington state about a florist back to a lower court. (Molly Riley / AFP-Getty Images)

Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — a.k.a. the “gay-wedding cake case” — ended anticlimactically earlier this month. The Supreme Court ruled for Christian baker Jack Phillips, who refused to “create” a wedding cake for a gay couple, but it did so based on a secondary, more procedural issue.

On Monday the court essentially sidestepped a similar case involving a florist in Washington state that might have allowed it to confront the issues it dodged in the wedding-cake case. Instead, it asked the Washington Supreme Court to give the case further consideration in light of the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling.

In appealing a finding that he had violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, Phillips had made two 1st Amendment arguments.  One was that being required to use his talents to create a cake for a same-sex wedding celebration was a form of "compelled speech"; the other was that it would violate his right to the free exercise of religion.

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  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders smiles as she wishes President Trump a happy birthday.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders smiles as she wishes President Trump a happy birthday. (Jacquelyn Martin)

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had herself a weekend, after the owner of a Lexington, Va., restaurant politely pulled her aside and asked her to leave — the horror! — because of her complicity in the administration’s anti-LGBT policies and their abhorrent efforts to separate migrant children from their parents and lock them in cages.

Naturally, this being 2018, Sanders whinged about her treatment on Twitter.

Remember, this is the same Sanders who only weeks ago used her platform to celebrate the Supreme Court “Cakeshop” ruling that allowed a baker to openly discriminate against LGBT clientele. There is nothing respectful about her.

  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • We're All Doomed
Rep. Maxine Waters speaks at the 2018 California Democrats State Convention in February in San Diego.
Rep. Maxine Waters speaks at the 2018 California Democrats State Convention in February in San Diego. (Los Angeles Times)

In the latest episode of Politicians Behaving Badly, a senior Democratic congresswoman and the president of the United States took turns calling on their followers (in thinly veiled fashion) to go rough up the other side.

First, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Impeach Trump), almost but not quite invoking Winston Churchill, called on Americans to oppose top officials in the Trump administration wherever they encounter them.

 “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she told a crowd in Los Angeles rallying against the administration’s now-renounced policy of separating migrant families at the border.

  • Trump
  • Opinion
President Trump says undocumented immigrants should be summarily deported without judicial oversight. He's wrong.
President Trump says undocumented immigrants should be summarily deported without judicial oversight. He's wrong. (Olivier Douliery / TNS)

President Trump has persistently expressed admiration for the autocrats of the world – from Vladimir Putin, whose agents have been implicated in the murders of political rivals, to Roberto Duterte, whose government has engaged in summary executions of suspected drug users. He’s also assailed the U.S. courts, fired an F.B.I. director over an investigation that threatens his presidency, and found nice things to say about neo-Nazis and racists marching in Charlottesville, Va., last year – one of whom allegedly killed a female protester with his car.

So it’s probably expecting too much to hope that a president with dreams of autocracy would care about due process.

On Sunday morning, as Trump headed for yet another outing at one of his golf courses, he tweeted that immigrants in the U.S. illegally should not receive due process but be summarily deported – which would violate international law and treaties.

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  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
A business in Belle Glade, Fla.
A business in Belle Glade, Fla. (Washington Post)

While the country was distracted by President Trump’s sudden reversal on the policy of tearing apart immigrant families, the House of Representatives on Thursday quietly passed strict new work requirements for food stamps as part of a five-year farm bill.

The rules will do little more than stick it to poor families, since they won’t save much money. Hey Republicans, what do you have against poor families?

Trump said he “didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated” when he signed the order reversing family separations Thursday, but was all praise for the tough new food stamp work requirements in the farm bill. So, Mr. President, the government should keep families together, but it shouldn’t be so quick to help them put food on the table?

  • Trump
  • Opinion
President Trump's shifting positions make him an erratic player both in Washington and on the world stage.
President Trump's shifting positions make him an erratic player both in Washington and on the world stage. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

He’s for it until he’s against it. He’s against it until he’s for it. And then he sometimes changes his mind again. Welcome to Donald Trump’s reign of confusion.

The president did it again Friday morning, tweeting:

  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that police needed a warrant to access cellphone data.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that police needed a warrant to access cellphone data. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

The Supreme Court on Friday handed down one of its most widely anticipated decisions of the term, holding that police must obtain a warrant based on probable cause before accessing a criminal suspect’s historical cellphone records. The decision involved Timothy Carpenter, who was convicted in a series of armed robberies based partly on cellphone-location data.

The court got it right, and privacy advocates have cause to celebrate.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. recognized that time-stamped cellphone data “provides an intimate window into a person’s life, revealing not only his particular movements, but through them his familial, political, professional, reli­gious and sexual associations.”  

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  • Opinion
  • The Golden State

It’s ridiculous that Kim Kardashian has been getting grief online for making her just-turned-5 daughter North’s naturally curly hair bone straight. The young girl (Kim K’s daughter with Kanye West, of course) was photographed, beaming, her long, shiny hair pulled tightly in a high ponytail.  But critics sounded the alarm on Twitter — “Leave her natural hair alone,” someone cried out.

And this wasn’t even Kardashian’s first hair controversy in recent days; she also got lambasted for wearing cornrow-like braids at the MTV Movie & TV Awards last weekend. So she’s either appropriating a black hairstyle for herself (she said it was a tribute to Bo Derek) or making her black daughter’s hair look white.

Kardashian defended her daughter’s hairstyle, saying it was done with nothing more damaging than a flat iron. “It was her birthday and all she wanted was to try to have her hair straightened,” Kardashian told the Hollywood Reporter, adding, “I’m not gonna let her straighten her hair all the time, but if she wants it that way two or three days a year, then that’s fine with me.”

  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
First lady Melania Trump visits the Upbring New Hope Children Center in McAllen, Texas.
First lady Melania Trump visits the Upbring New Hope Children Center in McAllen, Texas. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

First Lady Melania Trump paid a visit to McAllen, Texas, on Thursday to make an “unannounced” visit to the migrant children detained at Upbring New Hope Children’s Center.

In a short speech, the first lady thanked staff for their “compassion and ... kindness.”

Her obvious damage control efforts came as the Washington Post reported that the U.S. Border Patrol no longer will follow the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of bringing federal criminal charges against all migrant parents caught illegally crossing the border with their children. If true, this would be a major departure from Wednesday’s executive order, which decreed that instead of forcibly separating migrant children from their parents, kids instead would be detained alongside them.