On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to go forward with its ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries, but only in part, and will consider in the fall the president’s broad powers in immigration matters in a case that raises fundamental issues of national security and religious discrimination.
The court also agreed to hear the government’s appeal of lower against Section 2(c) of President Trump’s executive order, which temporarily suspended visa applications from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as Section 6, which froze the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and halted refugee entry into the United States.
The court made an important exception. It said the ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” the Court said. “All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of EO–2.”
In practical terms, Monday’s ruling is a qualified but significant victory for the Trump administration. Trump said last week that the ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts. “Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool to protect our Nation’s homeland. I also am particularly gratified that the Supreme Court’s decision was 9-0,” he said.
Justices Clarence Thomas, joined by Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, wanted to lift the hold on the entire ban, according to the order. He noted that, to his mind, “the Government has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits – that is, that the judgments below will be reversed.”
The court will examine the lawfulness of the travel ban in October to decide whether it violates any federal statutes or the U.S. Constitution.