President Donald Trump won a big victory Monday in the Supreme Court, which upheld his “extreme vetting” on immigration into the United States.
The dispute over the policy stemmed from its application to six majority-Muslim countries. Lower federal courts in California, Hawaii, and Maryland ruled the ban was unconstitutional.
In September, the administration revised the policy to add North Korea, Venezuela, and Chad to the list. It dropped Sudan and kept Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
The high court’s order allowing the Trump administration to enforce the policy in full was unsigned, but Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor opposed the decision and favored leaving the lower court rulings in place, the Associated Press reported.
“By a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court has decided—at least temporarily, pending a final determination of the merits—that decisions affecting our national security should be made by Congress and the president, not by a single federal judge sitting in a courthouse in Hawaii,” said John Malcolm, head of the Institute for Constitutional Government at The Heritage Foundation. “Presidents are given primary responsibility for protecting our homeland. Federal judges are not.”
“Moreover, the president receives daily classified intelligence briefings about the many threats we face, and congressional leaders also receive such briefings regularly,” Malcolm continued in a public statement. “Federal judges do not. By entering its order, the Supreme Court has sent a message that the important constitutional issues involved in this case will be resolved in an orderly fashion and in due course, and that our nation’s security will not be needlessly imperiled by one overreaching lower federal court judge.”
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters on Air Force One Monday the ruling didn’t come as a surprise.
“We are not surprised by today’s Supreme Court decision permitting immediate enforcement of the president’s proclamation limiting travel from countries presenting heightened risks of terrorism,” Gidley said. “The proclamation is lawful and essential to protecting our homeland. We look forward to presenting a fuller defense of the proclamation as the pending cases work their way through the courts.”
The court order said the policy can take full effect while other legal challenges work their way through the courts. Lower court judges ruled people from the six majority-Muslim nations with relatives in the United States had a “bona fide” claim to enter the country.
The Supreme Court gave partial support to the administration’s travel ban in June, when it found that travelers from the six predominantly Muslim countries could be banned if they lacked direct connections to the United States.
This story was updated to included a comment from White House spokesman Hogan Gidley.