In a big legal victory for President Donald Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday almost totally set aside a pair lower court injunctions that had blocked Trump Administration plans to bar visitors and refugees from six mostly Muslim countries. The move allows most of the President's controversial travel plan to go into effect immediately, while still allowing legal challenges to the effort later this year.
"Today's unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security," the President said in a written statement issued by the White House.
"My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe," Mr. Trump added.
While he celebrated, it was not a total victory for the President, as the Supreme Court carved out some caveats to Mr. Trump's plan for travelers and refugees, saying that if they have a relative in the United States, or some other direct tie to the U.S. - then those people cannot be blocked by the Trump Administration from traveling here at this time.
Those points, and the broader discussion over the "travel ban" will be argued later this year, as the Supreme Court said it would still hear a legal challenge to the Trump travel order.
But for now - much of it goes into effect.
"If you don't know someone in the US, if you don't have a job offer or admission to a University - then the travel ban applies to you," said immigration lawyer Mana Yegeni. "The travel ban goes into effect for refugees unless they have family in the United States."
But for those travelers and/or refugees without a direct reason to come to the United States, the Supreme Court said the President clearly has the right to deny them entry.
"But when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security," the Court declared in a Per Curiam opinion.
Those who would qualify for travel to the United States would include:
+ Students who have been admitted to a university
+ A foreign national who wants to visit a family member
+ Someone who has accepted a job in the U.S.
+ An academic who has been invited to give a lecture.
The Supreme Court decision though made clear that immigration groups may not simply add the names of people to their client lists, and try to get them admitted to the United States as a result.
While there was no detail given on whether the decision was unanimous, or how the Justices came down on the Trump travel and refugee order, three Justices - Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, wrote that they would have allowed the entire Trump Administration plan to take effect without any limits.
Today's Supreme Court decision was significant in one way - there was no mention at all of various items that received a lot of attention from lower court judges.
"No references to Trump tweets, TV interviews, websites, etc.," said Andy Grewal, a law professor at the University of Iowa. "I predict full reversal in the fall."
The political reaction in Congress broke along party lines as expected, as Democrats expressed frustration with the Supreme Court's course.
"Disappointing to see even one iota of Trump’s travel ban in effect," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who labeled the Trump order "hateful and hurtful."