The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 5-4 in favor of President Trump’s controversial travel ban on five mostly-Muslim countries.
The ruling, which marks the first SCOTUS decision on a Trump Administration policy, upholds the third iteration of a travel ban originally issued on January 27th, 2017.
President Trump has long argued the travel ban is necessary for security reasons, but opponents insist it discriminates against immigrants based on their religion. The travel ban applies only to persons living in Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Syria.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is “a tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution,” wrote Trump, describing the decision as “a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country.”
The biggest challenge for the Supreme Court was to determine how much discretion the president really has over immigration. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, passed in 1952 during the Cold War, the president has the authority to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants” whenever the president believes that class “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed Trump was “squarely” within his rights as president to enact the ban, but added that he and his fellow conservative justices “express no view on the soundness of the policy.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who authored the dissenting opinion, described the travel ban as a “repackaging” that “does little to cleanse [the policy] of the appearance of discrimination that the president’s words have created.” Any “reasonable observer would conclude that the proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus,” she added.
While all versions of the travel ban had been blocked by the lower courts, the Supreme Court in January allowed the current restrictions to remain in effect until the case was fully litigated.