The Supreme Court on Monday allowed for the full implementation of President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban.
With only tow dissenting votes, the justices ruled that the administration may fully implement the measure to bar people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. even as legal challenges against the ban continue to make their way through lower courts.
The ruling signals that the justices will likely uphold the ban outright once challenges make their way back to the Supreme Court.
The court’s action vindicates a rather bold procedural move by Trump’s Solicitor General Noel Francisco.
Two weeks ago, he filed an emergency plea with the high court urging the justices to bypass two lower courts that were weighing legal challenges to the third version of Trump’s travel order, which was issued Sept. 24.
The third version of the travel ban blocks visitors and immigrants from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and North Korea. The addition of North Korea is mostly symbolic, since the government did not expect to see visitors arriving from that country.
The order had gone into partial effect based on a middle-course position the Supreme Court set out in late June. Then, ruling on an earlier version of the travel order, the justices ruled the administration could refuse entry for visitors and immigrants from several Muslim nations, but not to families, travelers and others who had a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with person or entity in the United States.”
In recent weeks, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in California, and a federal judge in Maryland adopted that standard and applied it to Trump’s latest order. They agreed the ban could go into effect in part, but not against those who had close personal or professional ties to a person or an entity here. The 9th Circuit and the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, Va., were still weighing claims that Trump’s order discriminated based on nationality in violation of a 1965 law. The appeals courts are also considering claims that the ban reflected unconstitutional bias against Muslims.
Trump’s lawyers were not satisfied with that partial win in the appeals courts. They filed an emergency appeal Nov. 20 contending that allowing the ban to go into only partial affect “will cause ongoing irreparable harm to the government and the public.” They predicted the court would eventually uphold the order so the justices should permit the order to go into full effect without further delay.
Lawyers for the ACLU and state of Hawaii filed lengthy responses urging the court to maintain the status quo while the legal claims are heard and decided. But Francisco told the justices that to allow that delay would “cause ongoing irreparable harm to the government and the public.”
-Sam Rolley and the Tribune News Service contributed to this report.