The third time is the charm for the Trump Administration, for now. On Monday, Dec 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order allowing President Trump’s third attempt at a travel ban to take full effect while the issue of its constitutionality is litigated in the circuit courts. This decision has the practical effect of lifting hard-fought blocks against the controversial ban.
The travel ban has been a source of contention since its inception in January 2017, when the President signed an executive order calling for restriction on incoming travel for individuals of six Muslim-majority nations. The executive order was met with an instant legal battle and political protest, and on February 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a suspension of the travel ban. The President’s second attempt at the ban came on March 6 by way of executive order, was met with the same level of opposition, and was similarly blocked in the federal courts. President Trump issued his latest attempt through Presidential Proclamation on September 24. If successful, the Proclamation would allow the government to categorically restrict the entry of individuals from seven countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Edition 3.0 would also prevent the entry of Venezuelan officials and their immediate family members, while subjecting Venezuelan nationals, who hold visas, to additional screening. Unlike its predecessors, the most recent version of the ban has no self-imposed expiration date.
Monday’s 7-2 Supreme Court decision seems to have given fresh hope to the administration in its fight in the federal courts. While the merits of the case were not addressed and the issue remains undecided, the blocks have been removed and the travel ban is allowed to take full force and effect in the interim. In its brief order, the Supreme Court urged the lower court to “render its decision with appropriate dispatch.” The Court gave no explanation for its decision, but did note that Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor would have denied the administration’s request to implement the ban.