The Trump Administration won a victory at the Supreme Court Tuesday when it granted a motion allowing the “travel ban” to stay in place until another court reviews the case. With seven Justices agreeing, the Court ruled via a pair of orders that Trump’s executive order will now remain in place until the entire appellate process is completed.
This new pair of orders reverses the recent rulings of the lower courts that stopped implementation of the Administration’s latest efforts to place limits on travel to the U.S. from certain countries and by all refugees who do not possess either a visa or valid travel documents.
The Supreme Court did not provide any reasons for its action. Unlike an opinion issued after full presentation of a case at oral argument, these were orders, not an opinion, or opinions. The court did announce in both instances that “Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor would deny the application,” thus providing a 7-2 vote. Further, and in a move that will eliminate any more rule changes until the case is finally decided, the Court ruled that its decision allowing the travel ban to stay in place will continue until the case returns to the high court.
The Long and Winding Road to Nowhere
In mid-October, as Liberty Nation reported, two federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland issued preliminary injunctions against implementation of Executive Order 13780. This was a replacement order, designed to allow the administration to restrict some entry, but less restrictive than Trump’s initial order on entry, Executive Order 13769.
The seeming never-ending back and forth over the Trump Administration’s attempt to control entry policy to these United States started at the very beginning of his administration. On January 27, 2017, the newly inaugurated president signed Executive Order 13769, titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. The order lowered the number of refugees to be admitted into the U.S., suspended the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely, and suspend entry to the U.S. from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. More than 700 travelers were detained, and up to 60,000 visas were “provisionally revoked.”
Called the “travel ban” and “Muslim ban,” the order was challenged broadly and quickly. Dozens of federal court challenges were filed in the days after its issuance, and a federal court in Washington state granted a nationwide injunction against it, suspending enforcement. While challenging that decision in court, and others surrounding the order, the Administration issued a new order that was less restrictive.
On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13780, repealing and replacing the previous travel restrictions. In a tweet, Trump himself called the new order a “watered down, politically correct version” of the travel ban. The new rule took Iraq off the list, allowed existing visas to be recognized, and provided for waivers to be issued on a case by case basis. This new order was challenged immediately in federal court and led to the two injunctions which the Supreme Court just overturned. Those rulings required the ban not be enforced until the full case was heard in court.
The travel ban controversy is essentially over – at least for now. Even if the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decides the travel ban is illegal, the Administration will not be required to make any changes until the Supreme Court itself rules on the case again. The Supreme Court has once and for all announced that it will determine the constitutionality of the travel ban, and until it does, it will stay in place.