Trump’s Travel Ban: Supreme Court Potential?

Within days of his inauguration, President Trump and his administration began promoting a closed-door immigration policy. Trump issued his original travel ban through executive order in January.1 As a result of the order, refugees were barred entry into the United States for 120 days and officials were instructed to conduct additional screening as necessary.2 Syrian refugees were also barred from entry indefinitely and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries were barred from entry for 90 days.3 The seven countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen – were blacklisted due to unsubstantiated terrorism concerns.4 A maelstrom enveloped the country as protests began nationwide.5 Several federal judges objected to the original ban, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals eventually ruled against reinstating the ban.6

Trump quickly ordered a revised travel ban in March.7 The revised ban removed Iraq from the blacklisted Muslim countries and eliminated explicit references to religion.8 Several federal courts blocked the revised order before it was even set to begin.9 At the end of May, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held against the Trump administration.10 The federal appeals court wrote in its ruling that the revised order “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”11 In light of the new ruling, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that the administration would appeal to the Supreme Court.12

On Thursday, the administration filed two emergency applications with the Supreme Court to lift the injunctions placed on Trump’s travel ban by federal district courts in Maryland and Hawaii.13 The Maryland order was upheld by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the appeal of the Hawaii order is pending before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.14 The administration also requested that the Supreme Court review the overall legality of the travel ban.15 Within two weeks, the Supreme Court will vote on whether to lift the injunctions on Trump’s travel ban.16 Five out of nine justices must agree to lift the injunctions to restore the ban.17 The court will also decide in the next two weeks whether it will take on a complete review of the case.18 If the justices agree to completely review the ban’s legality, however, it likely will not happen until the fall, as the court recesses for the summer in June.19



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