Though not a final ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, December 4, gave the Trump administration the green light to enforce its travel ban which had been blocked by judges in Hawaii and Maryland.
The ban — in its third version — will prohibit residents of the six predominantly Muslim nations of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Chad from traveling into the United States. Travelers from North Korea and Venezuela are also said to be affected.
The Supreme Court’s Monday announcement came unexpected, and with little explanation. It did though, signal that the high court may approve the latest version which was issued by President Donald Trump in September.
Of the nine justices, seven were in support of the ban. Only two justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor — were opposed.
The Trump administration has continuously argued that fully blocking the ban was a threat to foreign policy concerns and national security.
Trump first signed his executive order which barred admission to the U.S. from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen in January. The unexpected roll out caused panic and disorder as many found themselves stuck in airports or unable to return to the United States.
The Trump administration’s second version of the travel ban was brought forth in March, but expired this fall.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that the high court’s action on Monday was “a substantial victory for the safety and security of the American people.”
“We are pleased to have defended this order and heartened that a clear majority Supreme Court has allowed the president’s lawful proclamation protecting our country’s national security to go into full effect,” he added. “The constitution gives the president the responsibility and power to protect his country from all threats foreign and domestic, and this order remains vital to accomplishing these goals.”
Those against the ban say that the latest version, like previous versions, show prejudice against Muslims. Many have cited Trump’s recent actions on Twitter in which he retweeted a number of graphic anti-Muslim tweets and videos.
Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project said, “President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret — he has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter.”
“It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims,” he added. “We continue to stand for freedom, equality, and for those who are unfairly being separated from their loved ones.”
According to the lawsuits filed in Hawaii and Maryland, the federal courts said that the latest travel ban violated federal immigration law.
Lawyers for Hawaii said, “Less than six months ago, this court considered and rejected a stay request indistinguishable from the one the government now presses.”
“But the justification for that dramatic relief has only weakened. In place of a temporary ban on entry, the president has imposed an indefinite one, deepening and prolonging the harms a stay would inflict,” they added.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, are expected to hear the challenges to the travel ban this week.
The Supreme Court signaled that the issue was expected to be dealt with by the courts in a rather prompt manner. The Monday order read, “In light of its decision to consider the case on an expedited basis, we expect the Court of Appeals will render its decision with appropriate dispatch.”
Assuming the appeals courts reach a resolution quickly, the Supreme Court would then be able to decide on the issue by the end of June. (Rae Ann Varona / AJPress)