President Donald Trump took a victory lap on Monday after the Supreme Court restored most of his executive order banning incoming travel from six terror-prone countries.
‘Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security,’ the president said in a statement shortly after the high court ruled. ‘It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.’
The Supreme Court said it will decide in the fall whether or not the travel ban is constitutional. Liberal state attorneys general have argued that it amounts to a religious test for entry into the U.S. since the affected countries all have Muslim majorities.
The court said that while the wheels of justice turn, the Trump administration can enforce the executive order against anyone from those nations who doesn’t already have a ‘bona fide relationship’ with a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
The stopgap measure, announced Monday morning, is largely a victory for Trump, who will be allowed – at least temporarily – to stem the flow of immigrants and refugees from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Trump has said he would put his ban into effect 72 hours after the Supreme Court gives him a green light.
Technically, the justices left a lower court injunction in place, but only for people whose cases mirror those of the original plaintiffs – meaning ‘foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.’
‘All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of [the executive order],’ the court ruled.
Trump framed the decision as a win for national security, mirroring his claims that controlling travel entries is a vital anti-terror tool.
‘As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm,’ he said Monday. ‘I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.’
‘My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation’s homeland.’
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in an off-camera news briefing that Trump was ‘honored’ by Monday’s result which ‘allowed him to use an important tool to protect our nation’s homeland.’
Like Trump, he referred to the outcome as a ‘9-0’ decision.
Six of the justices voted to approve the decision as it was issued. The other three, the most conservative jurists on the court, wanted to go even further – restoring Trump’s travel ban without any restrictions at all
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez lashed out at the administration for proposing the ban in the first place.
‘Donald Trump’s Muslim ban is an unconstitutional and un-American assault on our country’s foundation of religious freedom,’ Perez said in a statement.
‘As a nation, our diversity is our greatest strength, and we cannot allow such prejudice to shut the doors of progress. Democrats will continue to fight this hatred every step of the way.’
But Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the ruling ‘an important step towards restoring the separation of powers’ between the White House and the federal courts.
‘We have seen far too often in recent months that the threat to our national security is real and becoming increasingly dangerous,’ he added.
‘Groups like ISIS and al Qaeda seek to sow chaos and destruction in our country, and often operate from war-torn and failed countries while leading their global terror network. It is crucial that we properly vet those seeking to come to America from these locations, and failing to do so puts us all in danger.’
The administration has said the ban was needed to allow an internal review of the screening procedures for visa applicants from the six relevant countries.
That review should be complete before October 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.