On June 26, 2018, in a narrow 5–4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s most-recent (third) version of the travel ban, which imposes travel restrictions on nationals of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen (the administration lifted restrictions on Chad in April). The suit was brought by the state of Hawaii and others, and the plaintiffs argued that the travel ban violated the Establishment Clause because it was motivated not by concerns for national security, but rather animus toward Islam, as evident by previous statements from the President calling for a “Muslim ban,” and similar comments. The Supreme Court ultimately sidestepped Hawaii’s Establishment Clause claim by finding the ban itself to be neutral and squarely within the President’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Justices Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg dissented, with Justice Sotomayor describing the Court’s decision as “blindly accepting the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity … all in the name of a superficial claim of national security.”
For more information regarding the travel ban, see our previous client alert. The Supreme Court’s opinion can be found here.