The U.S. Supreme Court is letting Trump's travel ban go into effect – for now

The Supreme Court is letting the president's order go into effect – for now.
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A travel ban protester in front of the White House on Oct. 18, 2017.

A travel ban protester in front of the White House on Oct. 18, 2017.

The Essentials

1. President Donald Trump's latest iteration of the travel ban will be allowed to go into effect, the U.S. Supreme Court decidedMonday – at least while the case works its way through lower appeals courts.

2. This travel ban was announced in September, and impacts people from eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. The exact restrictions vary by country (you can read our earlier breakdown here), but there would be a full travel ban for residents from some of those areas. It doesn't include a built-in time limit, so the restrictions would be in place indefinitely.

3. The Supreme Court's Monday decisions aren't final. As CNN explains, there are two legal challenges being considered by appeals courts right now, with portions of the travel ban having been blocked by those courts. The Supreme Court urged them to make a final determination quickly – it's very likely the case will end up back with the highest court eventually, NBC News says. And Monday's orders indicate the justices might ultimately side with the White House.

The Big Picture

Since shortly after taking office, President Trump and his administration have been in a legal and political sparring match over travel restrictions. 

The first ban was issued abruptly in January, sparking protests across the nation and a lawsuit Minnesota joined. That version was scrapped, and in March the White House put out a modified version of the travel ban – once again leading to lawsuits.

The October travel ban expands on the second iteration, adding Chad, North Korea and Venezuela to the list of countries affected by new restrictions. The White House and administration officials have argued the new rules will better protect Americans from terrorism.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley on Monday said they were "not surprised" by the Supreme Court's decision to allow the ban, calling the proclamation "lawful and essential to protecting our homeland."

(Note: The White House insisted the original travel order was not a "ban," despite the president using that term. Now Gidley – speaking on behalf of the administration – is openly using the term "ban" to refer to the order.)

Since the initial attempt, critics have decried the travel bans as targeting Muslims. All the countries on the original list were predominantly Muslim, and that's still the case for all but two of the nations on the current list, the New York Times says.

After the Supreme Court allowed the travel restrictions to be implemented Monday, the ACLU (which is involved in challenging the ban) restated its opinion – that it's another sign of the president's "anti-Muslim prejudice," and not simply about national security.

White House lawyers have argued the proposal should be considered in a vacuum, the ACLU says. But a ruling from a judge earlier this year, which blocked one version of the travel ban, found the restrictions appeared to be targeting Muslims specifically – which could be unconstitutional religious discrimination.

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