The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a series of lower-court rulings blocking the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban on Monday, setting up a major showdown over presidential power and religious discrimination.
In an unsigned order issued on the Court’s last day before its summer recess, the justices scheduled oral arguments in the case for when they return in October. They also partially lifted the lower courts’ injunctions 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.
Under the Court’s order, the Trump administration can enforce the ban to block “foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from the six targeted countries while the case proceeds. It’s unclear how broad or narrow that restriction will be in practice.
The Supreme Court said in Monday’s decision: “In practical terms, this means that [the executive order] 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.
“All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of [the executive order].”
The ruling also said it would permit a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the US to go into effect, allowing the government to bar entry to refugee claimants who do not have any “bona fide relationship” with an American individual or entity.
The US president insisted his ban was necessary for national security amid a slew of terrorist attacks in Paris, London, Brussels, Berlin and other cities. However, critics called the policy un-American and Islamophobic, and the lower courts broadly seemed to agree.
The president’s policy was left in limbo after it was struck down by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland days following its issuance on 6 March.
The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said in May the ban was “rooted in religious animus” toward Muslims.
“Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security.”
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