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The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of President Donald Trump's travel ban on majority-Muslim countries, upholding one of his most controversial policies.
The travel ban applies to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The original ban also included Sudan and Iraq; in a September iteration of the ban, non-Muslim countries North Korea and Venezuela were added. (Chad had been added but taken off in April after the White House decided it had improved its visa security requirements.)
President Trump responded to the ruling on Twitter, saying, “SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!”
This is the third iteration of the travel ban, which was introduced through executive order days after Trump's inauguration in January 2017.
The 5-4 decision is the broadest ruling on the administration's much-disputed policy.
Writing for the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said the ruling refutes allegations that the order is a religiously-motivated Muslim ban. “The Proclamation is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the [Immigration and Nationality Act],” Roberts wrote, standing by Trump’s “substantial power” to regulate immigration.
The decision comes after more than a year of court battles, beginning with a temporary injunction filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to block the deportation of travelers stranded at airports across the country immediately following the ban.
In February 2017, Washington State filed the first lawsuit against the ban with support from the ACLU, detailing the grave effect the ban already had had on students, participants in exchange programs and refugees from the banned countries. The lawsuit marked the first of many legal battles the Trump administration's travel ban faced. In June, the Ninth Circuit appeals court affirmed a Hawaii judge's ruling blocking the ban, but then the Supreme Court partially upheld the ban by requiring nationals of the countries to have a "bona fide" relationship to a person or entity in the United States.
In December 2017, the Supreme Court allowed the most recent iteration of the ban to go into effect.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissent that the decision was reached upon “misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens.”
President Trump hailed the decision as “a tremendous victory for the American people and for our Constitution” in remarks at the White House, according to Reuters.
[Photo: Activists rally against the travel ban during a hearing outside the Supreme Court in April 2018. By Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images]