The Supreme Court announced Monday it will review the president’s controversial executive order next term. But in the meantime, the administration can enforce some of its provisions.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a series of lower-court rulings blocking the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban on Monday, setting up a major showdown over presidential power and religious discrimination.
In an unsigned order issued on the Court’s last day before its summer recess, the justices scheduled oral arguments in the case for when they return in October. They also partially lifted the lower courts’ injunctions against Section 2(c) of President Trump’s executive order, which temporarily suspended visa applications from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as Section 6, which froze the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and halted refugee entry into the United States.
Trump signed the revised order on March 6 and scheduled it to go into effect on March 16. The second version removed Iraq from the list of targeted countries and included more exemptions to the freeze on visa applications. But federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland issued injunctions against the order less than 24 hours before it went into force. In June, a frustrated Trump castigated the Justice Department and railed against the order he signed as a “watered down, politically correct version.” He also attacked the courts as “slow and political.”
Two federal appeals courts subsequently ruled against the second ban. The Fourth Circuit upheld the injunction in Maryland on constitutional grounds in May, citing the president’s campaign rhetoric to conclude that the executive order “drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.” In the Ninth Circuit, a three-judge panel left most of the injunction in Hawaii intact on statutory grounds, ruling that the administration had not sufficiently proven the order was necessary for national security. The Justice Department vowed to appeal both cases to the Supreme Court.
Civil-rights groups challenging the orders have assailed them as vehicles to implement the Muslim ban that Trump once proposed on the campaign trail. “President Trump’s Muslim ban violates the fundamental constitutional principle that government cannot favor or disfavor any one religion,” Omar Jadwat, the director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement Monday. “Courts have repeatedly blocked this indefensible and discriminatory ban. The Supreme Court now has a chance to permanently strike it down.”
(This article first appeared in The Atlantic on June 27, 2017.)