In a major victory for President Trump, the Supreme Court allowed his controversial travel ban to take full effect while legal challenges go forward, suggesting the court ultimately will uphold the restrictions, Bloomberg reports.
Previously, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and a federal district court in Maryland had said the president could only block nationals from the six majority Muslim countries - Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad - if they lacked a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. The high court’s decision now puts those rulings on hold. As a result, Trump will now be allowed to bar entry by people from six mostly Muslim countries - even if they have a relationship with a U.S.-based person or institution, but more importantly, and the reason why Trump is about to gloat on Twitter, this marks the first time the Supreme Court has let his entry restrictions take full effect.
In two identical orders, Supreme Court justices effectively superseded a compromise reached in June, when they allowed an earlier version of the ban take partial effect while exempting people with a "bona fide" U.S. connection. As Bloomberg adds, the new orders apply for the remainder of the appeals process, including possible Supreme Court review.
In its orders Monday, the Supreme Court said it expects the appeals courts to rule "with appropriate dispatch."
Only justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have denied the government’s request, without giving an explanation.
As The Hill writes, "the state of Hawaii and the International Refugee Assistance Project challenged Trump’s latest ban, arguing the Supreme Court carved out the same bona fide relationship exemption in June when it partially reinstated Trump’s 90-day ban on nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. "
When that order expired on Sept. 24, Trump issued new restrictions that eliminated Sudan but added Chad, North Korea and individuals affiliated with certain government agencies in Venezuela. The lower court bans did not block the restrictions on Venezuelan officials or immigrants from North Korea.
The Trump administration argued that a lot has changed since June, with Solicitor General Noel Francisco arguing that “multiple government agencies have conducted a comprehensive, worldwide review of the information shared by foreign governments that is used to screen aliens seeking entry to the United States.”
“Based on that review, the proclamation adopts tailored entry restrictions to address extensive findings that a handful of particular foreign governments have deficient information-sharing and identity-management practices, or other risk factors.”
The administration argued that the newest version of the ban, announced on Sept. 24, was put in place only after national security officials thoroughly reviewed vetting procedures on a country-by-country basis. The Department of Homeland Security would be able to add or remove travel restrictions on countries as conditions change.
Not all hope is lost for the resistance however: the new Supreme Court orders does not directly address the merits of the legal challenges. Separately, two federal appeals courts are scheduled to hear arguments this week. The high court could agree to consider appeals later, perhaps soon enough for a ruling during the current term that ends in June.