The Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump's travel ban Tuesday, ruling 5-4 that a proclamation Trump issued last September to impose new travel restrictions was constitutional and within the president's statutory authority.
“The Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.
The ban, the 3rd version put forth by the White House after earlier versions were struck down by lower courts, has been enforced since December, following the Court's decision to allow the administration to implement it while challenges played out in the courts. It applies to nationals of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, with restrictions specific to each country. Chad was initially included, but was removed in April.
This version of the ban was issued in September after two earlier versions of the ban were deemed unconstitutional by lower courts. The current version was crafted more carefully than earlier versions. Roberts quoted some of the anti-Muslim statements made by the president in his opinion, but upheld the ban saying the proclamation was facially neutral in regard to religion, and was supported by a national security claim that he stated reflects “the results of a worldwide review process undertaken by multiple Cabinet officials and their agencies.”
Justice Sotomayor wrote the dissenting opinion, which states, in part, “Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus,” She went on to state “That alone suffices to show that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim.”
The Court's ruling means that the existing travel restrictions will remain in effect unless the administration changes or lifts the ban. The Court remanded the case to a federal court in Hawaii for further proceedings consistent with the opinion issued today, which will likely result in the dismissal of the case. Citizens of the names countries have already faced many months of difficulties while being separated from their family members in the U.S.
We will continue to monitor this and provide updates as soon as they are available. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need any assistance in this regard.