WASHINGTON (CN) - Giving force to pieces of President Donald Trump’s ban on Muslim travel in the United States, the Supreme Court took up the controversial case Monday as its last act before summer recess.
Consolidating twin challenges against the executive order, the high court noted that the injunctions put in place against Trump’s so-called travel ban prevented the government from initiating enforcement of any of the challenged provisions.
In demanding a stay of those injunctions, the government cited the likelihood of irreparable harm.
“Pointing to the descriptions of conditions in the six designated nations, the government argues that a 90-day pause on entry is necessary to prevent potentially dangerous individuals from entering the United States while the executive reviews the adequacy of information provided by foreign governments in connection with visa adjudications," the unsigned opinion states. “Additionally, the government asserts, the temporary bar is needed to reduce the executive’s investigative burdens while this review proceeds.”
The six countries at issue are all Muslim-majority countries, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
In addition to suspending U.S. entry by nationals from these countries for 90 days, the executive order suspends “decisions on applications for refugee status” and travel of refugees into the United States for 120 days.
Other provisions suspend any entries in excess of 50,000 refugees for fiscal year 2017, while also directing the chief of Homeland Security to determine whether foreign governments provide adequate information about nationals applying for U.S. visas.
Leading the challenge of the executive order are the state of Hawaii; Dr. Ismail Elshikh, an American citizen and imam whose Syrian mother-in-law is seeking entry to this country; and John Doe No. 1, a lawful permanent resident whose Iranian wife is seeking U.S. entry.
Though the Supreme Court kept the injunction in effect as it pertains to the challengers, it issued a partial stay that allows some of Trump’s travel-ban provisions to take effect.
Saying the lower courts’ injunctions went farther than necessary, the justices noted that they bar enforcement of the executive order “against foreign nationals abroad who have no connection to the United States at all.”
“Denying entry to such a foreign national does not burden any American party by reason of that party’s relationship with the foreign national,” the opinion states. “And the courts below did not conclude that exclusion in such circumstances would impose any legally relevant hardship on the foreign national himself. So whatever burdens may result from enforcement of §2(c) against a foreign national who lacks any connection to this country, they are, at a minimum, a good deal less concrete than the hardships identified by the courts below.”
Leon Rodriguez, who served from 2014 to 2017 as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Department of Homeland Security, offered some insight Monday on the ruling.