Supreme Court revives partial Trump Travel Ban
On Monday, June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States voted unanimously 9-0 to allow a partial revival of President Trump’s March 6 executive order barring foreign nationals from six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from entering the United States to be reinstated. The order was reenacted late on Thursday June 29.
The ninth circuit court of appeals had stalled the order on the grounds that the President had “exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress,” an opinion echoed by many Democrats. In the summation of the opinion of the ninth circuit court, federal judges deemed that the President had failed to substantiate the basis of the order, namely that the entry of this class of people would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” The fourth circuit court had also previously halted the order, concluding that the order unconstitutionally discriminated against Muslims, citing then candidate Trump’s call for a “complete and total shutdown” of all Muslim immigration until further vetting procedures could be put in place.
Though Trump thanked the Court for its decision, the Court put an important caveat on the order’s revival. While all refugees and foreign nationals living in these six countries are banned from entry into the U.S for the next four months, part of the SCOTUS agreement going forward is that anyone with ‘a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States’ is allowed to travel back and forth into the States. This statement from the Court will likely cause some confusion as to what exactly constitutes a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with the United States. The Court gave a cursory summary of what it considered to be “close ties” to the U.S; those individuals with employment, university admissions and invitations to lecture, as well as those individuals with spouses, parents, in-laws and siblings in the U.S may be eligible to come to the U.S.
The decision also saw Trump’s newly appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch side with Justice Clarence Thomas, arguably the most conservative justice on the court, in arguing for a full reinstatement of Trump’s executive order. With recent rumors of Anthony Kennedy’s potential retirement, the court may have another conservative appointment to the Court, bolstering the conservative side of the court and creating a more favorable judiciary to the administration.
The Supreme Court’s decision was less of a definitive ruling on the order and more of a temporary delay until full constitutional arguments will be heard. The revived ban has already received new legal disputes, most notably from Hawaii and Maryland. The upcoming Supreme Court debate will set a clarifying precedent for the extent of executive control over immigration. The court’s decision may ultimately resolve what has been a longstanding conflict between the 1965 Hart Celler Act and the provision Congress added to the U.S code in 1952 giving the president the right to bar any class of aliens from coming into country who he deems inadmissible. The coming months will prove if President Trump’s travel ban can be implemented effectively or if the legal matters at the heart of the situation prove too much to uphold the executive order.