In a 5-4 ruling along ideological lines, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the third version of Donald Trump’s “travel ban” does not violate the United States Constitution, in an opinion issued Tuesday morning. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the U.S. president has the Constitutional authority to block “entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted.”
The ruling was also a stunning endorsement of presidential authority to act without consulting Congress, with Roberts writing that the U.S. president “possesses an extraordinary power to speak to his fellow citizens and on their behalf,” CNN reported.
The decision came in the case of Trump v. Hawaii, in which that state claimed the travel ban was unconstitutional because it specifically singled out adherents of the Muslim religion for discrimination. But because the text of the law does not mention the religion of any of the travelers who would be barred under the Trump order, the ban does not violate Constitutional provisions against religious discrimination, the five conservative justices ruled, according to SCOTUSBlog.
In an executive order that he issued on September 24 of last year, Trump placed “entry restrictions” on foreign nationals seeking to enter the U.S. from seven countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
The order was the third version of a ban on entrants from specific countries, most of which have populations that are predominantly Muslim. On the list of seven countries covered in the ban that was upheld on Tuesday, only Venezuela and North Korea do not have overwhelmingly Muslim populations. But Trump dropped Chad from the current list in April, CNBC recounts.
Trump almost immediately stated his delight in the Supreme Court ruling, taking to his Twitter account to declare, “Wow!”
SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2018
According to the CNN report, Trump watched live TV news coverage of the Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday morning.
But civil liberties advocates — as well as representatives of the U.S. travel industry – were not as thrilled with the ruling as Trump appeared to be.
“This is not the first time the Court has been wrong, or has allowed official racism and xenophobia to continue rather than standing up to it,” wrote the American Civil Liberties Union on its official Twitter account. “History has its eyes on us — and will judge today’s decision harshly.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement to CNN that the industry wants Trump to make clear that travelers remain welcome in the United States because “the economic stakes around strong and healthy international travel are too high… for the welcome message not to become a featured part of the administration’s calculus.”
Critics of the travel ban were quick to take to Twitter on Tuesday to note that had the nomination of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, not been blocked in 2016, in an unprecedented maneuver by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Tuesday’s decision would likely have gone the other way — along with numerous recent decisions since Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, took the seat that would have been occupied by Garland.
The Supreme Court upholding the Muslim Travel Ban is a direct consequence of Congressional Republicans unethically and illegally refusing to hold a confirmation hearing on Judge Merrick Garland. We need to vote them all out in November. #TravelBan
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 26, 2018
The theft of Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court seat is legitimately the greatest heist in world history.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) June 26, 2018
"Justice" Neil Gorsuch—who has provided the key fifth vote in multiple fascist decisions this week by the Supreme Court—sits in a seat that was stolen by the GOP with the help of Vladimir Putin.
Never forget that.
— Pé Resists (@4everNeverTrump) June 26, 2018
McConnell, who has been a U.S. Senator from Kentucky for more than 30 years, has called blocking the Garland nomination “the most consequential decision I’ve made in my entire public career,” in an interview with Kentucky Today.