The Supreme Court says President Donald Trump’s travel ban is a typical government policy — not an expression of Trump’s feelings about Muslims.
On Tuesday, in an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court ruled for the government in Trump v. Hawaii, the lawsuit over the current version of the travel ban — the third that the Trump administration has issued since it made its first effort in January 2017.
In a 5-4 decision (the court’s liberals dissented), Roberts reversed the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court that had attempted to put the travel ban on hold — a ruling that the Supreme Court had already kept from going into effect while it reviewed the case — and sent the case back to the 9th Circuit to reconsider.
The current version, which prevents some (or all) immigrants, refugees, and visa holders from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen from entering the US, has been in full effect since early December (thanks to an earlier Supreme Court ruling). For a full explanation of how the case has developed, see Vox’s Trump v. Hawaii explainer.
The existing ban is much narrower than Trump’s first attempts — thanks in part to early court defeats in 2017, it only applies to certain categories of visa applicants (depending on country) and theoretically allows for would-be immigrants to apply for waivers.
But it’s also designed to be permanent.
In theory, the legal fight over the travel ban isn’t over, since the Supreme Court is still instructing the 9th Circuit to rule on the merits of the ban. But by decreeing that the legal challenges to the ban aren’t “likely to succeed” on the merits, the court has just made it extremely difficult for the ban to get struck down in future.