Trump Claims Victory As US Supreme Court Partially Reinstates Travel Ban
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by allowing his temporary bans on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries until it reviews it later this year. . .
The US apex court partially reinstated Trump’s controversial travel ban targeting citizens from six predominantly Muslim countries, prompting the president to claim a victory for national security.
The apex court said it would examine the case in full in October but said the ban could now be enforced for travelers from the targeted countries “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The court also allowed ban on all refugees to go into effect for people with no connection to the U.S. while agreeing to hear his appeals in the closely watched legal fight.
It narrowed the scope of lower court rulings that had completely blocked Trump’s March 6 executive order.
The court said that it would hear arguments on the legality of one of Trump’s signature policies in his first months as president in the court’s next term, which starts in October.
It granted parts of his administration’s emergency request to put the order into effect immediately while the legal battle continues.
Two U.S. appeals courts had upheld lower court decisions halting the ban to allow legal challenges on the basis of religious discrimination. The Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court.
The March 6 executive order had banned the new visas from being issued to people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.
It also sought to halt issuances of new refugee admissions from around the world for 120 days.
The US Supreme Court building in Washington DC. | AFP photo/Karen Bleier/AFP.
The order was however blocked by federal judges before going into effect on March 16 as planned.
Trump issued the order amid rising international concern about attacks carried out by Islamist militants like those in Paris, London, Brussels, Berlin and other cities.
But critics have called the order a mean-spirited, intolerant and un-American “Muslim ban.”
The state of Hawaii and a group of plaintiffs in Maryland represented by the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the order violated federal immigration law, and the Constitution’s First Amendment prohibition on the government favoring or disfavoring any particular religion.
Regional federal appeals courts in Virginia and California both upheld district judge injunctions blocking the order.
Trump signed the order as a replacement for a Jan. 27 order issued a week after he became president that also was blocked by federal courts.
The revised order was intended to overcome the legal issues posed by the original ban, which also included Iraq among the nations targeted and a full ban on refugees from Syria.
The revised order also jettisoned language that gave preferential status to persecuted religious minorities, which critics said could be taken as favouring Christians and other religious groups over Muslims.
Trump has called the March order a “watered down, politically correct” version of the January one.
But the order still embodied his “America First” nationalist message and reflected his views of the dangers posed to the United States by certain immigrants and visitors.
The administration has said the travel ban is needed to allow time to implement stronger vetting measures, although it has already rolled out some new requirements not blocked by courts, including additional questions for visa applicants.
The US Supreme Court tempered its ruling by saying the ban could not be implemented for now against people who have personal links to the US, citing the examples of foreign nationals wishing to visit family or students accepted to attend university.
The Supreme Court’s decision nonetheless marks a win for President Donald Trumpr, who has insisted the ban is necessary for national security, despite criticism that it singles out Muslims in violation of the US constitution.
Trump had suffered a series of judicial defeats over the ban, with two federal appeals courts maintaining injunctions on it by arguing that his executive order discriminated against travelers based on their nationality.
Reacting to the Monday Supreme Court ruling in a statement, President Trump said he felt vindicated by what he called:
“a clear victory for our national security. It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective. As president, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm.”
However, the apex court’s ruling referred to ‘bona fide relationship’ which agencies and individuals will struggle to make sense of.
President Trump’s revised measure, announced in March, seeks to bar from US entry travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, as well as suspend the entry of refugees for 120 days.
Trump’s original measure, issued through an executive order in January which was immediately blocked by the courts, also included Iraq and an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
The Supreme Court narrowed the scope of the injunctions on the ban, saying the government could enforce its measure against “foreign nationals unconnected to the United States” without causing injury to the parties who filed suit.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the administration was confident that it would prevail when the nation’s top judges hear the case in full.
In a statement, Sessions said, inter alia:
“Groups like ISIS (the Islamic State group) and Al-Qaeda seek to sow chaos and destruction in our country, and often operate from war-torn and failed countries. It is crucial that we properly vet those seeking to come to America from these locations, and failing to do so puts us all in danger.”
While the ban itself did not single out Muslims, judges in lower courts had cited Trump’s repeated statements during last year’s presidential race that he intended to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
By any standard or measure, this is obviously a victory, albeit a soothing one, if nothing else, for President Donald Trump and US national security.