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Supreme Court allows full enforcement of Trump travel ban

Travelers make their way up the arrival ramp at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport on June 29, 2017. After months of wrangling, tighter restrictions on travel to the U.S. from six mostly Muslim nations took effect in June after the Supreme Court gave its go-ahead for a limited version of President Trump's plans for a ban. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday (Dec. 4) allowed the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.

This is not a final ruling on the travel ban: Challenges to the policy are winding through the federal courts, and the justices themselves ultimately are expected to rule on its legality.

But the action indicates that the high court might eventually approve the latest version of the ban, announced by President Trump in September. Lower courts have continued to find problems with the policy.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said the White House is “not surprised by today’s Supreme Court decision permitting immediate enforcement of the president’s proclamation limiting travel from countries presenting heightened risks of terrorism.”

Opponents of this and previous versions of the ban say they show a bias against Muslims. They say that was reinforced most recently by Trump’s retweets of anti-Muslim videos.

“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,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. The ACLU is representing some opponents of the ban.

Just two justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, noted their disagreement with court orders allowing the latest policy to take full effect.

The new policy is not expected to cause the chaos that ensued at airports when Trump rolled out his first ban without warning in January.

The ban applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Lower courts had said people from those nations with a claim of a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded.

The courts were borrowing language the Supreme Court itself came up with last summer to allow partial enforcement of an earlier version of the ban.

Now, those relationships will no longer provide a blanket exemption from the ban, although visa officials can make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

The justices offered no explanation for their order, but the administration had said that blocking the full ban was causing “irreparable harm” because the policy is based on legitimate national security and foreign policy concerns.

In lawsuits filed in Hawaii and Maryland, federal courts said the updated travel ban violated federal immigration law. The travel policy also applies to travelers from North Korea and to some Venezuelan government officials and their families, but the lawsuits did not challenge those restrictions. Also unaffected are refugees. A temporary ban on refugees expired in October.

All the rulings so far have been on a preliminary basis. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.

David Levine, a University of California Hastings law school professor, said that by allowing the ban to take effect just days before the appeals court arguments, the justices were signaling their view.

“I think it’s tipping the hand of the Supreme Court,” Levine said. “It suggests that from their understanding, the government is more likely to prevail on the merits than we might have thought.”

Both appeals courts are dealing with the issue on an accelerated basis, and the Supreme Court noted it expects those courts to reach decisions “with appropriate dispatch.”

Quick resolution by appellate courts would allow the Supreme Court to hear and decide the issue this term, by the end of June.

(Associated Press writer Eugene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.)

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  • Interesting……he got what he wanted……is he right though? hmmmmmm
    Did Saudi Arabia control too much oil to keep them out? (edited)

  • Broad discretion is given under the assumption of basic competence and rationally justified policy considerations. Nothing about the Trump presidency or the travel bans demonstrates this.

    The first two travel bans were bigoted, malicious junk. The last one was simply saving face.

    Of course had President Trump sought or taken advice from White House Counsel and the State Department on the issue first, he could have issued a travel ban which could pass muster the first time. Instead he relied on the in-house nazi Steve Bannon to come up with someone.

    Now nobody in their right mind trusts Trumps motives on the subject.

    BTW if one is arguing for a ban on Muslims then you one is admitting the plaintiffs here are correct.

  • Not at all. “Wide discretion” is not an automatic rubber stamp to any action without question.

    It assumes the government can plausibly rationally explain its actions. No such explanation has been proffered. If one is relying simply on what amounts to tradition and assumption, then there is no substance to the argument.

    If national security was really at issue here then it could be justified with some explanation or plan as to what to do while this temporary ban is in place. There is not even a basic description of what existing procedures need to be revamped while the temporary travel ban is in effect. Because none existed.

    This was the illegal Muslim ban he promised voters, scaled back to something less likely to cause a diplomatic ruckus. The concept was obviously stupid, even to Trump. So it was reduced to something workable against nations with no real ties to the US.

    The district court was justified because Trump’s prior actions demonstrated a level of malice and incompetence that one could not assume national security interests were being addressed. That first travel ban fiasco destroyed any potential rational basis or assumption of competence. Also not helping him are the myriad of State and Defense department analysts and experts who opposed the measures as unfounded and counterproductive.

  • Nope.
    We have military bases in Saudi Arabia, diplomatic ties and yes they have too much oil to keep them out.

    Plus the US is in Saudi Arabia’s pocket when it comes to the ME. Which is why we have taken their side in the proxy war in Yemen between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

  • Of course it was. It was one from the outset when it specifically banned people from those countries for being Muslim. After the initial fiasco it had to be scaled back to something less obvious. You are trying to pretend events less than a year ago never happened.

    It was never based on security interests or perceived flaws in our immigration vetting process. A year into the ban they would have been capable of making policy and procedural changed to address such flaws. Mooting the travel bans alleged purpose. The fact that nothing has been proposed shows that justification was a sham.

    I can’t take you seriously if you are too afraid to address the history and substance of the policy in question.

  • Our Constitution places lower court judges in a position to rule that the president has acted unconstitutionally. It is for higher courts to decide whether those lower courts were correct.

  • That’s your argument? Get bent. The first travel ban order specifically excluded people of the majority religion from the Muslim majority countries listed. It was specifically a Muslim ban.

    Trump has been walking back from that ever since.

  • yeah right as if i want, people from countries that shout death to america and death to americans in this country. as if the death of around 5,000 americans, from muslim terrorists is not enough proof of hostile intent.

    the president also banned, all immigration from hostile territories in wwi, wwii, n korea, during those times of hostility. the president has the authority to halt all immigration if necessary. the president also, has the authority to limit the number of legal immigrants from around the world.

    try reading public immigration law 414, before you comment foolishly. that most specifically state, that immigration from countries hostile to the united states is banned.

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