Travel ban, church-state case await action by Supreme Court

Posted June 27, 2017

On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case of President Trump's overturned travel ban, which restricted travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

His first executive order went into effect immediately and resulted in chaos at airports in the United States and overseas, as travelers from the targeted countries were either stranded or sent back to their countries. Instead, the Court explains in an unsigned order joined by six justices, the ban is now only halted with respect to "foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States". It also allowed the suspension of all refugee arrivals for 120 days to go ahead on the same basis. His administration has argued the ban is in the interest of national security and needed to have an internal review of screening procedures for people from the countries in question.

The Supreme Court's next term will begin in October.

In a 10-to-3 decision, the court noted Trump's remarks before and after his election about implementing a ban on Muslims and said the executive order "in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination".

The high-stakes legal fight has been going on since President Donald Trump rolled out a travel ban just a week after his inauguration.

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Ever since Donald Trump signed the first executive order banning people from seven countries from entering the USA on January 27, it's been nothing but trouble.

There are also two major Second Amendment cases, either one of which would be only the third such Supreme Court case in American history.

Trump was accused of fanning anti-Muslim hatred on the campaign trail, and his first executive order was rejected by federal courts, prompting the administration to come up with a slightly watered-down version that opponents said was still discriminatory.

In March, two federal judges ruled against the executive order on the grounds that its objective was to "disfavor a particular religion". Justice Neil Gorsuch, Mr. Trump's nominee who was confirmed in April, is taking part in the highest-profile issue yet in his three months on the court.

Thomas expressed concern with the "court's remedy" and said he fears it will "prove unworkable".

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Yet, while the Court does list several examples of what constitutes "a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States", as Justice Clarence Thomas points out in dissent, this new rule "will invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved on the merits", as lower courts struggle to make sense of the Court's order in individual cases.

"I will never reveal a conversation between a sitting justice and the president or the White House, but we're paying very close attention to these last bit of decisions", Conway said, noting that the president is prepared to appoint a replacement should Kennedy step down.

The president's revised order calls for a 90-day ban on travellers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The revised ban, the White House has said, took into account judges' cited reasons for putting it on hold, and predicted it would pass constitutional muster.

Some have said the rumors are unfounded, pointing to the fact Kennedy has already hired his law clerks for the fall term, but those believing a retirement could soon be in the works have said that Kennedy's announcement could come soon, while the retirement might not happen until 2018.

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The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals focused on federal law.