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Supreme Court agrees to hear Trump travel ban challenge, allows enforcement of parts of order

  • The Supreme Court agrees to hear the Trump administration challenge to rulings blocking his executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries.
  • The court allows enforcement of parts of the order while it hears the case.

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear the Trump administration's challenge to rulings blocking his executive order restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries.

The top U.S. court will allow enforcement of parts of the "travel ban" while the case moves forward. Justices will hear arguments on the case in the fall.

President Donald Trump has argued that the measure, a key campaign plank and one of the most divisive moves of his young presidency, is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks in the U.S. Critics and some federal court rulings have argued that it targets immigrants based on religion, after Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the U.S. as a candidate.

In a statement, Trump called the court's move "a clear victory for our national security." He highlighted that all the justices backed temporarily allowing enforcement while the case proceeds.

"As president, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive," he said.

Two federal appeals courts previously upheld rulings that largely blocked enforcement of the executive order. The Trump administration made an emergency request to put the measure into effect.

Chief Justice John Roberts (seated C) leads Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (front row, L-R), Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Elena Kagan (back row, L-R), Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch in taking a new family photo including Gorsuch, their most recent addition, at the Supreme Court building in Washington.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Chief Justice John Roberts (seated C) leads Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (front row, L-R), Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Elena Kagan (back row, L-R), Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch in taking a new family photo including Gorsuch, their most recent addition, at the Supreme Court building in Washington.

The March 6 executive order, revised from an earlier version that was blocked by courts, called for a 90-day ban on travelers from six countries — Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also pushed for a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the United States.

The court ruled Monday that the order can take effect for people who "lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." It said the same for the refugee provision.

Three justices — including Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch — said they would have let the executive order go into effect in full.

Trump has publicly argued for his executive order and against prior court rulings, sometimes to his own detriment. A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion this month upholding a ruling blocking the order cited one of Trump's tweets in which he said that we "need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries."

Earlier this month, Trump argued that "we need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!"

He later contended that the Justice Department "should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct" version that the Supreme Court will hear.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

Correction: The court ruled the order can take effect for people who "lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." It said the same for the refugee provision. An earlier version mischaracterized the ruling.