SCOTUS Allows Travel Ban to be Partially Implemented

The Supreme Court issued a disappointing decision today with respect to the proposed “travel ban” targeting six majority Muslim countries.

The court agreed to hear the case, and partially stayed the lower courts injunctions against implementation, allowing those with no articulable ties to the US to be denied entry. This will largely impact Syrian and Iraqi refugees with no familial ties within the US, some of those most in need of safe harbor.

The court will not hear the merits of the case until October, at which time a ruling that the Executive Order was unconstitutional will be moot.

In addition to the prohibition against targeting specific countries for denied entry, the White House failed to articulate a specific national security threat posed by legal entrants from any of these countries, or to quantify or qualify the need for revised vetting procedures. There is no data indicating a higher threat of any kind from immigrants from the targeted countries.

The executive historically gets a great deal of latitude on national security matters; I don’t think it is too much that claimed national security threats be backed up with data.

UPDATE & Amendment: The injunction on enforcing the original order remains in place with respect to refugees. More clearly – refugees are still allowed to enter.

While I do believe that the government’s claim to issuing this order over national security concerns demands better scrutiny, that was not the SCOTUS’s task at this point. They were evaluating the legitimacy of the injunctions, not the order. So, while disappointing, this ruling is probably about as sensible as it could have been. Though it overturned the injunctions in part, it still leaves the original order largely toothless. It will probably keep out visiting tourists, but that may be it. The language is vague enough to lend itself to challenges from the tourism angle as well, most likely. The net effect may still be that no one from these countries is denied legal entry.

Substantially less of a victory that the White House is claiming.

The full text of the order is here.

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