President Trump’s beleaguered travel ban policy chalked up a significant victory at the Supreme Court on Monday as the justices allowed full implementation of the latest version of the restrictions, Politico reports. The ruling indicated that the justices’ concerns about the president’s actions on the issue might be eroding. Lower-court rulings had exempted from the travel ban foreigners with “bona fide” family, business or educational ties to the U.S., but the justices issued an unsigned order that allows Trump to carry out the new policy even on those with U.S. connections, at least for now.
The third iteration of the president’s travel ban sought to limit to varying degrees issuance of visas for travel to the U.S. by citizens of eight countries, six of which are majority Muslim. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor indicated that they would have denied the Trump administration’s request to implement the policy, which the president issued by proclamation in September. What appeared to be a 7-2 vote to let Trump proceed is a notable swing on the Supreme Court from the 6-3 vote in June in which a majority of the justices ruled that those with a “bona fide relationship” would not be subject to an earlier version of the travel ban. In June, three conservatives — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — were the only justices willing to let the president implement that policy. “I think that’s very significant,” said Professor Josh Blackman of South Texas College of Law. “Generally, when Justice [Anthony] Kennedy votes to grant the stay, that means they’re going to reverse” the lower courts.