The Supreme Court has upheld President Donald Trump's travel ban.
The ruling was 5-4 along partisan lines, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the conservative majority.
The ruling sends a strong message that Trump has broad powers under immigration law to act to protect national security and that statements made during a campaign may not be legally determinative of the President's intent.
"The Proclamation is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority," Roberts wrote.
Trump immediately reacted on Twitter:
SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!
SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2018
The President then called the ruling "a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution" and said he felt vindicated.
"This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country," Trump said.
Delaware's U.S. Sen. Tom Carper called the decision "disappointing," and "un-American."
"Today, a majority of the Supreme Court mistakenly ignored what President Trump himself has told us time and time again: that this travel ban was born out of fear and hostility toward Muslims, rather than any sort of national security strategy," Coons said. "Let’s be very clear. Despite today’s disappointing ruling, the facts remain the same: categorically denying a group of people entry to this country on the sole basis of their religion and nationality is uninformed, un-American, and unwise."
This is the third version of the travel ban. It was issued in September -- after previous bans had ricocheted through the courts -- and restricts entry from seven countries to varying degrees: Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela. Chad was originally on the list but it was recently removed after having met baseline security requirements.
Challengers, including the state of Hawaii, argued that the travel ban exceeded the President's authority under immigration law as well as the Constitution. They also used Trump's statements during the campaign, when he called for a ban on travel from all Muslim-majority countries, but Roberts dismissed those concerns.
"Plaintiffs argue that this president's words strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance, in violation of our constitutional tradition," Roberts wrote. "But the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself."
Stephen Vladeck, CNN's Supreme Court analyst and a law professor at the University of Texas School of Law, called the ruling a "big win" for the White House.
"The Supreme Court has reaffirmed the President's sweeping statutory authority when it comes to deciding who may and who may not travel to the United States, authority that both President Trump and future presidents will surely rely upon to justify more aggressive immigration restrictions," Vladeck said.
However, Vladeck noted that this was the third version of the travel ban and the administration made significant changes in response to lower-court rulings invalidating the first two iterations, including one issued one week after Trump became president in January 2017.
Carper said the law won't protect America in any tangible way--and may center it further in the crosshairs of those who would want to do harm to the country--but, more importantly, pointed out the decision may be a stolen one:
"Do not be fooled. This policy does not make our country safer. It hurts our alliances with other countries that have been with us on the front lines of the war against ISIS. It fuels the rhetoric of radicals and extremists around the world and strengthens their narrative that the West is waging a war against Islam. It also damages our credibility with Muslim communities in our country that we partner with every day in order to ensure extremism does not take root here at home," Coons said. "Today’s narrow ruling on the constitutionality of this ban also serves as an important reminder of a shameful chapter in the history of our Constitution and the United States Senate: the unprecedented obstruction that my Republican colleagues mounted in 2016 against Judge Merrick Garland. There was certainly no adherence to civility or regular order back then. And now, the consequences of that despicable chapter have led to many deeply flawed decisions by the Supreme Court, including discriminatory policies like the travel ban being upheld today."
The Supreme Court will wrap up its term Wednesday.
Sotomayor dissent and Korematsu
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a blistering dissent, said the court was wrong to ignore Trump's various comments.
"The majority here completely sets aside the President's charged statements about Muslims as irrelevant," she wrote. "That holding erodes the foundational principles of religious tolerance that the court elsewhere has so emphatically protected, and it tells members of minority religions in our country 'that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community.'"
She also compared the opinion to one that came down in 1944 in which the court blessed the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Reacting to the dissent, Roberts took the unusual step to declare that the 1944 case, Korematsu v. United States, was no longer good law and was wrongly decided. It is the first time the Supreme Court has ever made this public determination.
Liberal lawmakers, groups denounce ruling
Delaware Law School-Widener University Professor of Law Mary Brigid McManamon said there was evidence before the court ever issued its decision that the system was leaning the direction it ultimately landed upon.
"They had a ruling a couple of months ago on this issue regarding whether or not the injunction was okay, and one of the findings when you're deciding to lift an injunction or not, is probability of success on the merits and so they pretty much signaled in that ruling that they were going to find no success on the merits here, so, not a surprise," she said.
McManamon said the breakdown didn't really feature any surprises, other than the dissenters were broken into two groups with different concerns.
"Of course, it was 5-4. [Chief Justice John] Roberts--when it's an opinion this big, usually the chief justice does write it, so that's not a surprise--and of course he's joined by [Clarence] Thomas, [Anthony] Kennedy, [Samuel] Alito, and [Neil] Gorsuch. And then, interestingly, there was no four-person dissent, there were two two-persons dissents. [Elena] Kagan went along with [Stephen] Breyer and [Ruth Bader] Ginsberg went along with [Sonia] Sotomayor, and they were focused differently.
"The majority first rules that the statute gives the president power, and then rules that there's no first-amendment violation," McManamon said. "The argument is that [Trump's] showing animus towards the Muslim religion which would violate the First Amendment. Oddly, the majority decided to use what they call a Rational Basis test, which is a very low-level test--normally in First Amendment cases they use Strict Scrutiny, which is a very high test--and so Sotomayor says, 'What's going on here? You use Strict Scrutiny and this fails, this does not pass the test.'
"Breyer wrote a very Breyer-like opinion, which, he looks at all sorts of findings that are out there and says that the lower court needs to go back and decide: was this really a national security statute--as the majority holds--or is it one driven by animus? And one of the things he shows is that the majority relies on all these waivers--'Oh, we're going to let all these people in, don't worry'--but they've only let in a very, very few, and he thinks the lower court should go and see, is this is a sham for national security."
The choice for that test, McManamon said, was likely because Roberts was forced to overlook all of the acknowledged vitriolic rhetoric regarding Muslims spouted by Trump during the campaign trail.
"It's really very odd. [Roberts] says normally the test of presidential prerogative under immigration is: is there a bona fide purpose and that's it and you don't go beyond it. But because there was so much animus towards Muslims expressed during the campaign and the early days of the presidency, the government conceded that you could look beyond it, and that's when Roberts chose the low-level Rational Basis rather than the high-level [test]."
Minnesota Democratic Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, said Tuesday's decision "give legitimacy to discrimination and Islamophobia."
Neal Katyal, one of the lead attorneys for Hawaii in the case said although he was "disappointed" in the court's decision, he argued that the process gives him hope and called on Congress to reverse the President's travel ban.
"While we continue to believe that this third version fails that test, there is no question that by striking down the first two travel bans, the judiciary forced a recalcitrant administration to at least give its order the veil of constitutionality," Katyal said in a statement Tuesday. "We continue to believe, as do four dissenting justices, that the travel ban is unconstitutional, unprecedented, unnecessary and un-American."
The American Civil Liberties Union also strongly condemned the court's ruling, writing on Twitter that "this is not the first time the Court has been wrong, or has allowed official racism and xenophobia to continue rather than standing up to it."
Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said in a statement that the court's "ruling will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court's great failures."
Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said, "Discrimination is not a national security strategy, and prejudice is not patriotism. Let's call this ban for what it is: an outright attack on the Muslim community that violates our nation's commitment to liberty and justice for all."
Congressional Republicans applauded the court's decision, arguing that it was a win for national security and dismissing the accusations that it is a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he was "pleased."
"As I stated when the new Executive Order was issued, it is not a religious ban," Graham said on Twitter. "The order was focused on countries that are in true states of disarray and would have great difficulty vetting to ensure terrorists are not coming into the United States."