Supreme Court overrules 9th Circuit on Trump travel ban


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of the Trump administration on a travel ban that would keep around 24,000 foreigner nationals from entering the United States. The order overruled a Sept. 7 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that allowed the foreigners admission, according to the San Francisco Patch.

The dispute over the 24,000 foreign nationals is part of a larger case in which the Supreme Court is considering challenges to a revised travel ban issued by Trump in an executive order on March 6.

On Oct. 10, the High Court will hear arguments on the full ban, which applies to travelers from six predominately Muslim countries.

On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States, according to the Supreme Court website. Among other directives, the order suspended entry of foreign nationals from seven countries identified as presenting heightened terrorism risks — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — for 90 days.

The countries to be included in the ban was taken from the Obama Administration’s State Department list of terrorist nations.

In the larger case, the Supreme Court is considering two challenges to Trump’s March 6 order, according to the webpage. Respondents in these cases filed separate lawsuits challenging the Executive Order. As relevant, they argued that the order violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it was motivated not by concerns pertaining to national security, but by animus toward Islam.

One lawsuit, filed by the state of Hawaii, claimed the order violated the rights of Hawaii residents who have overseas relatives as well as the rights of the University of Hawaii to seek foreign students and professors.

A federal trial judge in Honolulu issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking implementation of the ban. That injunction was upheld by the 9th Circuit in San Francisco on June 12, according to the San Francisco Patch.

In a second case, an immigrants’ rights group challenged the part of the ban that applies to visitors from six mostly Muslim countries. A federal trial judge in Maryland issued a preliminary injunction that was later upheld by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia.

After the U.S. Justice Department appealed both circuit court rulings to the Supreme Court, the high court agreed on June 26 to review both cases and to hold the Oct. 10 hearing, according to the San Francisco Patch.

In an interim ruling on June 26, the Supreme Court said the Trump administration can implement most of the travel ban until the case is resolved, but that the administration must allow entry to those who have a “bonafide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity, according to the Supreme Court’s website.

The court, however, did not define the meaning of “bonafide relationship.” In its Sept. 6 decision, a 9th Circuit panel said the description should include foreign nationals who have assurances of resettlement support from one of nine religious and charitable organizations that work with the U.S. government.

That definition was deleted by Tuesday’s Supreme Court order.

In its Sept. 6 decision, the 9th Circuit also expanded the categories of close relatives who should be exempt from the ban to include grandparents and other extended-family members. The Justice Department did not appeal that part of the ruling.

There are currently 175,000 additional foreign national applicants who have no resettlement assurances, according to a government filing.