Trump called the Supreme Court action on his 90-day ban a clear victory for national security.
The justices will hear full arguments in October but in the meantime the court said Trump’s ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”.
But the decision nonetheless marks a win for the Republican leader, who has insisted the ban is necessary for national security, despite criticism that it singles out Muslims in violation of the USA constitution.
David Martin, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security official and now a professor at the University of Virginia, said the ruling was “carefully tailored” and should be manageable for officials to enact.
But lawyers fighting the ban are optimistic.
The court put the travel ban against citizens of the six majority-Muslim countries on hold as applied to non-citizens with relationships with persons or entities in the United States. That would be Thursday morning.
The court is letting the administration mostly enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries.
“The six nations that were included in the ban were all designated and set aside by President Obama as being high-risk nations, with definite security interests and concerns”, said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute. Among other things, it undermines the administration’s claim that the goal of the order is to give officials time to review vetting procedures for citizens of the six countries in question.
The move ensures the continuation of one of the most divisive battles of the Trump administration, with the White House arguing the bans are meant to guard against terrorism, while civil liberties and immigrants’ rights groups contend they are motivated by Islamophobia.
This time around, the ban will not go into effect immediately.
But several justices wanted to go further – Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a three-page opinion, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, in which he said the government’s request for a stay should have been granted in full. It notes only that denying entry to foreign nationals without a “bona fide” relationship does not burden any Americans, and that “unadmitted and nonresident alien [s]. ha [ve] no constitutional right of entry to this country”.
“As president, I can not allow people into our country who want to do us harm”, he added, in a White House statement. “I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive”, he said.
While Legomsky said he believes the vast majority of cases will be clear cut, courts will have to determine whether visiting a close friend or taking part in a wedding could also qualify.
The state of Hawaii and a group of plaintiffs in Maryland represented by the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the order violated federal immigration law and the Constitution’s First Amendment prohibition on the government favoring or disfavoring any particular religion.
Thus, the decision will allow the 120-day ban on refugees to be implemented, given that those people are fleeing their countries of origin and have no prior relationship with United States individuals or institutions.
Trump’s initial travel ban, issued without warning on a Friday in January, brought chaos and protests to airports nationwide as travellers from seven targeted countries were barred even if they had prior permission to come to the U.S. The State Department cancelled up to 60,000 visas but later reversed that decision.
Protestors gather outside a federal courthouse in Seattle on May 15 to protest Trump’s revised travel ban. I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0.
A key distinction that the Supreme Court drew in their decision on the travel ban was between foreign nationals that have a connection to USA residents or entities and those that do not.
A federal judge blocked it eight days later, an order that was upheld by a 9th circuit panel.
Rather than pursue an appeal, the administration said it would revise the policy.