The United States Supreme Court handed a legal victory to Donald Trump, ruling that his travel ban of six countries,Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad, can be fully enforced pending an legal challenges appeal.
Seven of the court’s nine justices agreed to lift two injunctions imposed by lower appeal courts two months ago that had partially blocked the ban while legal challenges to it continue.
The high court’s similar orders in two challenges to the ban mean that most travelers from these six countries cannot enter the United States while the cases are ongoing..
Lower courts had exempted more travelers who they said had “bona fide” connections to the United States, such as the grandparents and in-laws of citizens. Those exemptions mirrored ones designed by the Supreme Court in June, when the justices allowed only part of an earlier, temporary travel ban. The new ban, issued in September, is of indefinite length.
The decision is a boost for Mr Trump’s policy against travellers from the effected countries Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
The ruling covers the third version of the directive that the president has issued since taking office.
Federal appeals courts in San Francisco, California, and Richmond, Virginia, will hear arguments this week on whether the latest iteration of the policy is lawful.
The Supreme Court noted it expects those courts to reach decisions “with appropriate dispatch”.
The case will eventually end up back in the Supreme Court “CNN Reports.
By allowing the full travel ban to take effect for now, the justices may be insinuating that they are likely to uphold it on the merits at a later date — an interpretation the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) disputed.
Two of the Supreme Court’s liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, said they would have denied the Trump administration’s request to lift the injunctions.
Whitehoue has now secured support from the Supreme Court to move ahead with implementing it while the appeals in Virginia and California continue.
Hearings are expected in both those cases this week, meaning the ban could wind its way back to to the Supreme Court again in a matter of months.
Ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday lawyers for the Trump administration had argued the policy was crucial to protect US national security, and that it was based on a “comprehensive” worldwide review.
“It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims,” said Omar Jadwat, who directs the ACLU’s immigrants’ rights project. “We continue to stand for freedom, equality, and for those who are unfairly being separated from their loved ones.”
According to White House spokesman,”We are not surprised by today’s Supreme Court decision permitting immediate enforcement of the president’s proclamation limiting travel from countries presenting heightened risks of terrorism.
“The proclamation is lawful and essential to protecting our homeland. We look forward to presenting a fuller defence of the proclamation as the pending cases work their way through the courts.”
In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the Supreme Court’s action “a substantial victory for the safety and security of the American people.”
Mr Sessions said the Trump administration was heartened that a clear majority of the justices “allowed the president’s lawful proclamation protecting our country’s national security to go into full effect.” the telegraph reports.