A divided Supreme Court let President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. from six mostly Muslim countries take full effect while legal challenges go forward, handing him a major victory and suggesting the court ultimately will uphold the restrictions.
Trump will now be able to bar or limit entry by people from the Mideast and North African nations even if they have a relationship with a U.S.-based person or institution. The order effectively supersedes a compromise the justices reached in June, when they allowed an earlier version of the ban to take partial effect but exempted people with a “bona fide” American connections.
The global airline industry’s main trade group reiterated its opposition to the curbs, which affect people from Iran, Syria, Chad, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. International Air Transport Association Chief Executive Officer Alexandre de Juniac said Tuesday that the steps risk imposing “unbearable constraints” on airlines and passengers.
“We are not in favor of travel bans,” De Juniac said in Geneva, where he was providing an update on airline earnings. “If there is a travel ban that has to be imposed for urgent security needs, please consult the industry before to properly implement the set of measures.”
The Trump administration gambled that the high court would be more receptive to the newest version of the ban, which also bars entry for people from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the order. Lower courts had partially blocked the new policy, issuing orders that tracked the Supreme Court’s June decision.
The new order doesn’t directly address the merits of the legal challenges. Two federal appeals courts are scheduled to hear arguments in the coming days. The high court could agree to consider appeals later, perhaps soon enough for a ruling during the current term that ends in June.
The administration argued that the newest version of the ban, announced on Sept. 24, was put in place only after national security officials thoroughly reviewed vetting procedures on a country-by-country basis. The Department of Homeland Security would be able to add or remove travel restrictions on countries as conditions change.
The challengers to the policy say Trump is exceeding his authority under federal immigration law and violating the Constitution by targeting Muslims.