The Supreme Court on Monday partially lifted an injunction on President Donald Trump’s ban on people traveling to the United States from countries rife with Islamic terror and agreed to hear an appeal on lower court rulings that blocked the ban during its fall term.
The decision, a win for the Trump administration, means that people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who cannot demonstrate that they have a reason to travel to the United States will be barred from entering the nation.
Opponents of the ban claim it will prevent people from visiting U.S. family or applying for visas to work or study here. SCOTUS disagreed with those opponents and with the rulings of both the 4th and 9th Circuit Courts, which had blocked the ban on the basis of a possible violation of the Establishment Clause and of the Immigration and Nationality Act, respectively.
Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. from the six listed countries is of consequence to people falling into only two categories: Those who claim to want to visit the U.S. as tourists but who have no close family in the country and people seeking refugee status.
The ban also is time-limited. For people lacking a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” the ban bars access for a period of 90 days. For people claiming refugee status, it bars access for a period of 120 days.
SCOTUS noted the self-imposed limitations provided in the travel ban, determining Monday that it “does not burden any American party by reason of that party’s relationship with the foreign national. And the courts below did not conclude that exclusion in such circumstances would impose any legally relevant hardship for the foreign national himself.”
When the court takes up Trump’s case later this year, its focus will be on removing any doubt about the president’s power to limit immigration in response to terror threats.
In its argument against the lower court rulings, the Trump administration claims that the 9th Circuit’s decision “threatens to hamstring the Executive in safeguarding the nation’s border” while the 4th Circuit’s ruling creates uncertainty about presidential power. Chances are good that Trump will score another victory in the fall, when arguments are expected to begin on the case.
Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, in the Monday decision, said they would have allowed Trump’s original complete travel bans to take effect, noting that the administration’s interest in national security outweighs any hardship the government might create for foreign nationals wishing to enter the country.