Donald Trump’s infamous travel ban has taken a big step towards before finally being enshrined in law – with the US Supreme Court voting by a 7:2 majority on Monday that the ban could be imposed on six Muslim-majority countries and two others whilst appeals against the legality and morality of the ban continue to be heard.
The decision now means that, under the curtain of the ban, the United States would be able to categorically refuse entry visas to prospective travellers from the countries of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, plus North Korea and Venezuela.
However, the ruling was purely a legalistic one, whereby the Supreme Court indicated that it found the Trump administration’s argument – that an emergency injunction against the ban was unnecessary – to be persuasive. Of course, this does not indicate their agreement with the rule.
Furthermore, in an attempt to reduce the potentially broad scope for discrimination and public outcry at the travel ban, it was announced in July that an executive action would create an exception for travellers with “bona fide” links inside the United States such as documented business purposes or close family relationships.
What is more is that the coming months are set to contain the battle over the travel bans extended discriminative effect and whether that constitutes a violation of constitutional protections.
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented from the ruling. But notably, justice Elena Kagan, a Barack Obama nominee, sided with the majority.
The ruling was sounded as “a substantial victory for the safety and security of the American people” by the US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, despite the advice of terrorism scholars who say that security justifications for the ban are misleading.
Unsurprisingly, the progressive Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) decried the supreme court ruling as “inhumane and discriminatory”.
In a statement, the CCR said:
“We will not allow this to become the new normal”. Whatever the courts say, the Muslim Ban is inhumane and discriminatory. We must continue to demonstrate that we reject and will resist the politics of fear, anti-Muslim racism, and white supremacy.”
The Trump administration has always denied that the ban is discriminatory along religious lines, however that assertion appears to have unravelled somewhat considering the President’s recent re-tweeting of anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right group late last month.
In addition, human rights lawyers and advocates have vowed to keep fighting for the rights of those set to be affected by the travel ban.
Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s immigrants’ rights project, who has argued the case in the fourth appeals circuit said in a statement: “It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims.”
“We continue to stand for freedom, equality, and for those who are unfairly being separated from their loved ones. We will be arguing Friday in the Fourth Circuit that the ban should ultimately be struck down.”
The San Francisco-based ninth US circuit court of appeals and the fourth US circuit court of appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.
Both courts are dealing with the issue on an accelerated basis, and the supreme court noted it expected those courts to reach decisions “with appropriate dispatch”.
If those decisions are dealt with as per the planned schedule, the Supreme Court will be able to make the final decision on the issue in June 2018.