What That SCOTUS Travel Ban News Actually Means

You’ve no doubt seen by now the news about President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban. At first blush, it seems like a radical reversal from all those lower court rulings blocking the ban. But like everything in the law, it’s more complicated than that. So what does this news actually mean? Let a lawyer walk you through this.




SCOTUS hasn’t actually had a chance to fully consider the case yet. It won’t do so until October, so nothing here is permanent. The lower courts placed an injunction on the refugee travel ban, which blocked it from going into effect. By lifting that injunction, the Trump administration can finally start enforcing the ban. But if you think this is an indication of how the full court is going to decide, that’s not really the case. University of Texas School of Law Professor Steve Vladeck explains:

“Although it may be tempting to see the order as a harbinger of how the court is likely to rule on the merits, it’s better understood as a very modest procedural step to stabilize the full scope of the injunctions against the travel ban over the next four weeks.”

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Because the rest of Trump’s travel ban has gone into effect, it’s just one portion of it that was subject to the injunction. By lifting it SCOTUS makes it easier to gather evidence on the ban’s effect and makes less work for already-swamped immigration officials. The six-country visa ban was set to run out September 24 based on the lower court’s ruling, meaning those officials would be flooded with tens of thousands of requests all at once.

So like everything with the law we just need to wait and see what happens. While the Trump administration might be crowing this ruling as a victory, it is anything but.

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Want a short primer on how the Supreme Court works? Here’s a great place to start:

Feature image via YouTube screengrab.

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