“SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!” Wrote President Trump on Twitter.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the third iteration of the travel ban drafted by President Trump and his administration. The decision was 5-4 with the majority strongly supporting the notion that creating the travel ban was constitutionally within the President’s powers, according to NPR.
So first of all, what is version three of the travel ban? What made it different from the original version, which was drafted just seven days after President Trump took office?
Initially, the travel ban was a temporary executive order put in place for 90 days. It targeted seven majority Muslim countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The ban on Syria included refugees fleeing ISIS. The executive order was met with outcry and protest from the American people. It was also met with surprise from some of President Trump’s cabinet who were not informed about the President’s decision to draft the order. As protestors arrived at airports around the country in opposition to the travel ban, a federal judge in New York blocked a portion of the executive order protecting those who had arrived just after the order had been issued.
The second version of the travel ban varied from the first in that it targeted six majority Muslim countries, and as judges across the country put holds in place to try to stop the travel ban, the Supreme Court allowed it. The only exception made was for travelers from those six countries who already had family in the United States.
The third version of the travel ban targets eight countries: Sudan, Iraq, Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela (Venezuelan government officials specifically), and Yemen. This is the version of the travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court. After much discourse about the possible anti-Muslim sentiment behind this decision to ban individuals trying to enter the United States, the Supreme Court majority said that ultimately if the President believes that these countries pose a threat to national security, it is within his power to impose rules to protect the United States. President Trump has cited the travel ban as an act of defense against terrorism.
The minority was outspoken in their opposition to the outcome of the ruling. Justice Sotomayor stated, “In holding that the First Amendment gives way to an executive policy that a reasonable observer would view as motivated by animus against Muslims, the majority opinion upends this Court's precedent, repeats tragic mistakes of the past, and denies countless individuals the fundamental right of religious liberty.”