Supreme Court Agrees to Review Trump's Travel Ban

Susan Jones | June 26, 2017 | 12:08pm EDT
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President Trump signs one of many executive orders at the White House. (White House photo)

( - In a preliminary win for the Trump administration, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to review lower-court rulings against President Trump's 90-day travel ban, which applies to people from six Middle Eastern countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

"The Clerk is directed to set a briefing schedule that will permit the cases to be heard during the first session of October Term 2017," the court order said.

And until the case is heard, the Supreme Court said any foreign national who lacks a "bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States" will be barred from entering the country. The court, in other words, partially stayed the injunctions imposed by federal appeals courts.

The court explained what kind of relationship qualifies for entry into the United States until the travel ban case is decided:

For individuals, a close familial relationship is required. A foreign national who wishes to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member...clearly has such a relationship.

As for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading (the executive order). The students from the designated countries who have been admitted to the University of Hawaii have such a relationship with an American entity. So too would a worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience. Not so someone who enters into a relationship simply to avoid (the executive order).

For example, a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion. In practical terms, this means that (the executive order) may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of (the executive order).

Justice Thomas, joined by Justices Alito and Gorsuch, said he would have stayed the lower-court injunctions in full, barring the entry of all foreign nationals from the six designated countries until the case is heard.

"And I agree with the Court’s implicit conclusion that the Government has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits -- that is, that the judgments (of the appeals courts) will be reversed," Thomas wrote.

Thomas also noted that Monday's compromise decision -- allowing some foreign nationals into the U.S. while excluding others -- "will burden executive officials with the task of deciding...whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country.

"The compromise also will invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved on the merits, as parties and courts struggle to determine what exactly constitutes a 'bona fide relationship,' who precisely has a 'credible claim' to that relationship, and whether the claimed relationship was formed 'simply to avoid (the executive order)."


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