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Supreme Court Backs Trump's Travel Ban

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on June 26, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Supreme Court today removed an injunction against President Donald Trump's much-maligned travel ban, citing federal immigration law that "exudes deference" to the president and allows him "broad discretion to suspend" the entry of noncitizens into the United States. Despite arguments and federal court rulings that the ban unfairly targeted Muslim immigrants, the Court determined the government demonstrated "a sufficient national security justification" for restricting entry from travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, and Somalia.

While the case isn't over yet -- it was sent back to the lower courts "for such further proceedings as may be appropriate" -- the Supreme Court's holding contained some forceful language that future challengers will need to overcome. You can read all of the Court's reasoning right here:

Back and Forth on the Ban

Several federal courts had blocked multiple versions of the ban from going into effect, citing "significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the Executive Order" that "plainly discriminates based on nationality" in violation of federal law. When granting the injunction against Trump's third version of the travel ban which was at issue in this case, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson said, "Any reasonable, objective observer would conclude ... that the stated secular purpose of the Executive Order is, at the very least, 'secondary to a religious objective' of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims."

The Supreme Court, however, disagreed. Writing for the 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts conceded that five of the seven countries covered by the latest iteration of the travel ban have Muslim-majority populations, but contended "that fact alone does not support an inference of religious hostility, given that the policy covers just 8% of the world's Muslim population and is limited to countries that were previously designated by Congress or prior administrations as posing national security risks."

Presidential Power

The Court also disregarded claims that President Trump exceeded his authority in ordering the ban. Under Section 1182(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Roberts reasoned, the president can block noncitizens from entering the United States as long as he determines their entry "would be detrimental to the interests of the United States."

That assertion of presidential privilege was bound to draw comparisons between this case and the Supreme Court's infamous ruling in Korematsu v. United States, a ruling that endorsed internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II and remains one of the Court's worst. "The forcible relocation of U. S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of presidential authority," Roberts wrote, attempting to distance his ruling from Korematsu. "But it is wholly inapt to liken that morally repugnant order to a facially neutral policy denying certain foreign nationals the privilege of admission."

You can read the rest of the Court's ruling below:

Trump v Hawaii by FindLaw on Scribd

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