The Supreme Court agreed to decide on the legality of President Trump’s Muslim Ban and temporarily reversed parts of lower court rulings blocking enforcement of the order.
Justices announced Monday that they would hear arguments about the ban during the next Supreme Court term, which starts in October. They said, in the meantime, that an injunction against the ban would be lifted, except for those with “any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
“A foreign national who wishes to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member … clearly has such a relationship,” Justices stated.
They said prospective university students from banned countries are also temporarily exempt. So, too, are “worker[s] who accepted an offer of employment from an American company” and “lecturer[s] invited to address an American audience.”
Those seeking refugee status were also granted temporary relief from the ban – though only if they similarly have “bona fide” ties to the U.S.
“But when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security,” the court ruled.
President Trump’s Muslim Ban was first ordered a week after his inauguration.
President Trump’s Muslim Ban, which he has described as a “Travel Ban,” was first ordered a week after his inauguration. Among other directives, the executive order immediately denied entry for 90 days to Iraqis, Iranians, Libyans, Somalis, Sudanese, Syrians and Yemenis, though it exempted religious minorities–i.e. Non-Muslims.
The order sparked confusion among travelers and led to mass protests at airports throughout the country. It was subsequently shot down by a District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, before being withdrawn and re-ordered in March.
The second iteration of the Muslim Ban took Iraq off the lists of ban countries. It also exempted permanent residents and visa holders, withdrew preferential treatment for non-Muslims and went into effect ten days after issuance. District Court judges and the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals struck down the decree, citing discriminatory intent.
Both versions of the order suspended refugee admissions from the banned Muslim-majority countries for 120 days. The first version had indefinitely banned refugees from Syria.
Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
In late 2015, on the presidential campaign trail, Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Critics have said that his executive orders denying entry to nationals from majority-Muslim countries is the first step towards enacting such a blanket prohibition.
The Supreme Court said that its decision to partially lift the injunction on the ban was not meant to be a ruling fully based on “the substance of the legal issues.” Justices noted that “equities of a given case” were given consideration, too.
To that effect, they noted that stopping the ban “against foreign nationals unconnected to the United States would appreciably injure [Government] interests, without alleviating obvious hardship to anyone else.”
Some of the conservative Justices did, however, indicate that they would be willing to uphold the ban, in full. Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito said that they voted to remove the temporary injunction “in full.”
“[W]eighing the Government’s interest in preserving national security against the hardships caused to respondents by temporary denials of entry into the country, the balance of the equities favors the Government,” Thomas wrote on behalf of the dissenting trio. “I would thus grant the Government’s applications for a stay in their entirety.”