The Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 to uphold President Donald Trump’s travel order. The justices wrote that the language within the travel order is clear and does not exceed Trump’s authority.

The third rendition of the travel order, along with the previous versions, was widely mischaracterized as a travel ban and painted as a Muslim-ban, though the order never mentioned or even targeted any religion. The order did take issue with several long-stand state sponsors of terror, many of which happen to be Muslim majority countries.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the travel order “is based on legitimate purposes, without saying anything about religion.” The justices noted that the order does not include Iraq, which is one of the largest Muslim countries in the Middle East.

The justices concluded that the government provided “sufficient national security justification.” They also decided that the “plaintiffs have not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional claim.”

SCOTUSBlog found this as notable from the decision:

Finally, the dissent invokes Korematsu v. United States, 323 U. S. 214 (1944). Whatever rhetorical advantage the dissent may see in doing so, Korematsu has nothing to do with this case. 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. But it is wholly inapt to liken that morally repugnant order to a facially neutral policy denying certain foreign nationals the privilege of admission. See post, at 26–28. The entry suspension is an act that is well within executive authority and could have been taken by any other President—the only question is evaluating the actions of this particular President in promulgating an otherwise valid Proclamation. The dissent’s reference to Korematsu, however, affords this Court the opportunity to make express what is already obvious: Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and—to be clear—“has no place in law under the Constitution.” 323 U. S., at 248 (Jackson, J., dissenting).

Here’s an excerpt from the opinion:

For more than a century, this Court has recognized that the admission and exclusion of foreign nationals is a “fundamental sovereign attribute exercised by the Government’s political departments largely immune from judicial
control.” Fiallo v. Bell, 430 U. S. 787, 792 (1977); see Harisiades v. Shaughnessy, 342 U. S. 580, 588–589 (1952) (“[A]ny policy toward aliens is vitally and intricately interwoven with contemporaneous policies in regard to the
conduct of foreign relations [and] the war power.”). Because decisions in these matters may implicate “relations with foreign powers,” or involve “classifications defined in the light of changing political and economic circumstances,”such judgments “are frequently of a character more appropriate to either the Legislature or the Executive.” Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U. S. 67, 81 (1976).

Nonetheless, although foreign nationals seeking admission have no constitutional right to entry, this Court has engaged in a circumscribed judicial inquiry when the denial of a visa allegedly burdens the constitutional rights of a U.S. citizen. In Kleindienst v. Mandel, the Attorney General denied admission to a Belgian journalist and self described
“revolutionary Marxist,” Ernest Mandel, who had been invited to speak at a conference at Stanford University. 408 U. S., at 756–757. The professors who wished to hear Mandel speak challenged that decision under the First Amendment, and we acknowledged that their constitutional “right to receive information” was implicated. Id., at 764–765. But we limited our review to whether the Executive gave a “facially legitimate and bona fide” reason for its action. Id., at 769. Given the authority of the political branches over admission, we held that “when the Executive exercises this [delegated] power negatively on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason, the courts will neither look behind the exercise of that discretion, nor test it by balancing its justification” against the asserted constitutional interests of U. S. citizens. Id., at 770.

Roberts wrote that the court found that the travel order is “premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices. The text says nothing about religion.” The plaintiffs emphasized “that five of the seven nations” have Muslim majority populations, but the Court reminded them “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.”

Trump’s administration removed Chad in April after the country “improved its identity-management and information sharing practices sufficiently to meet the baseline security standard of the United States.” Trump had the country on the list after it ran out of passport paper.

Iraq became exempt from the order in March 2017 after then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with the Iraqi government “about vetting measures in place that would prevent suspected terrorists from leaving Iraq and coming to the United States.” The administration dropped Sudan in September 2017. I cannot find a reason given by Trump or his officials, but sources told the media said the decision came after the government cooperated with the US “on national security and information-sharing.”

For the countries that remain, the Court found that the travel order “includes significant exceptions for various categories or foreign nationals.” From the opinion:

The policy permits nationals from nearly every covered country to travel to the United States on a variety of nonimmigrant visas. See, e.g., §§2(b)–(c), (g), (h) (permitting student and exchange visitors from Iran, while restricting only business and tourist nonimmigrant entry for nationals of Libya and Yemen, and imposing no restrictions on nonimmigrant entry for Somali nationals). These carveouts for nonimmigrant visas are substantial: Over the last three fiscal years—before the Proclamation was in effect—the majority of visas issued to nationals from the covered countries were nonimmigrant visas. Brief for Petitioners 57. The Proclamation also exempts permanent residents and individuals who have been granted asylum. §§3(b)(i), (vi).

Third, the Proclamation creates a waiver program open to all covered foreign nationals seeking entry as immigrants
or nonimmigrants. According to the Proclamation, consular officers are to consider in each admissibility determination whether the alien demonstrates that (1) denying entry would cause undue hardship; (2) entry would not pose a threat to public safety; and (3) entry would be in the interest of the United States. §3(c)(i); see also §3(c)(iv) (listing examples of when a waiver might be appropriate, such as if the foreign national seeks to reside with a close family member, obtain urgent medical care, or pursue significant business obligations). On its face, this program is similar to the humanitarian exceptions set forth in President Carter’s order during the Iran hostage crisis. See Exec. Order No. 12206, 3 CFR 249; Public Papers of the Presidents, Jimmy Carter, Sanctions Against Iran, at 611–612 (1980) (outlining exceptions). The Proclamation also directs DHS and the State Department to issue guidance elaborating upon the circumstances that would justify a waiver.


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