Update: Supreme Court Tackles "Travel Ban" Cases

Supreme Court Tackles "Travel Ban" Cases: Merits to Be Heard in October

In a complicated 6-3 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court carefully assessed the injunctions against implementation of the Administration's second Executive Order from both the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits. The Executive Order sought to bar admission from foreign nationals of six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, suspend all processing of refugees through the United States Refugee Admission Program (USRAP) for 120 days, and lower the FY17 refugee ceiling from 110,000 to 50,000.

The Court concluded to hear both cases on the merits in its term commencing October 2017. In the interim:

  • The Court declined to continue the injunctions with respect to "foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." They may now be barred entry.

  • The Court maintained the injunctions with respect to those particular litigants that brought the cases and those similarly situated. Family members, those with job or academic admissions offers, and others who can make a case for "a bona fide relationship" here will be admitted.

Who is admitted and who is not thus becomes a matter of interpretation at the border.

The three justices who concurred in part/dissented in part -- Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch -- would have lifted the stays entirely. They do point to the potential "unworkability" of the Court's action.

The "Muslim ban," statements of candidate or President Trump or his surrogates, or potential violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act were not directly addressed by the Court.


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