FAIR Guest Opinion: Ninth Circuit Defies a Century of Legal Precedent in Ruling

Last night, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to continue blocking President Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration. This is a deliberate attempt to shift control over immigration from the political branches to the judicial branch in order to grant foreigners a constitutionally protected “right” to enter the U.S. And the 9th Circuit’s decision is way off base. Here’s why:

The Supreme Court has previously held that federal courts are prohibited from hearing cases asking them to declare illegal the exercise of a power that the Constitution assigns exclusively to the other branches of government. This rule is referred to as the “Political Question Doctrine.” It preserves the separation of powers by keeping the courts from assuming functions that should be performed by the legislature or the executive. The role of the courts is to interpret and apply the law, not to set the national security agenda, conduct foreign affairs, or craft our immigration policies.

Applying the Political Question Doctrine, the Supreme Court has repeatedly said that the powers to legislate and implement the conditions for admitting aliens into the United States belong, respectively, to Congress and the executive branch. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4, of the United States Constitution specifically grants Congress the power to establish a “uniform Rule of Naturalization.” The power to pass laws governing who may enter and remain in the United States is implied in that power.

Read the rest of Matt O’Brien’s op-ed in Lifezette.com

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    The Trump Train Keeps Barrelling On for the American Voter

    While Billionaire Buffet’s support of open border rich elite’s pipeline ban kills off his train investments….LOL poor Buffet, he made a bad business decision….

    The open border pundits use only one fight against the American Constitution….if it doesn’t agree with me I’ll scream and complain like a cry baby….grow up!

  2. avatar

    Many top legal scholars have said that based on the merits, the reading of the law, he has the right to do this. Even CNN’s Brian Callan said that the 9th Circuit Court “applied constitutional rights to the world”. Clearly that is not allowed, as shown in repeated court rulings. As noted in the complete op-ed, in the 1950 Supreme Court case of Knauff vs. Shaughnessy the court ruled the judiciary had no business ruling on such issues. That also had to be a heavily Democratic court since they had controlled the White House for 17 years. Roosevelt alone had made 8 picks. The 9th Circuit is widely known as being super liberal, the most overturned court in the country.

    • avatar

      That is correct Leland but also the scholarship agree unanimously they did it wrong n without proof n unconstitutional

          • avatar

            Not when it is unconstitutional…You still fail to see why….R y sure you were born here? N the media is teaching this administration what to do. ….To re-do it…..So much for fake newsxn media. . It is just a smoke screen…. It won’t last too long before the reps manage to get rid of it.