Today, in a per curiam ruling, the Supreme Court restored the vast majority of the Trump administration’s temporary travel ban — including the temporary ban on refugee entry. The lower courts’ injunctions remain only in the narrowest of categories — where the person seeking entry has a “bona fide relationships with a person or entity in the United States.”
And what is a “bona fide relationship?” The court’s guidelines were strict:
For individuals, a close familial relationship is required. A foreign national who wishes to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member, like Doe’s wife or Dr. Elshikh’s mother-in-law, clearly has such a relationship. As for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading EO–2.
In other words, SCOTUS made short work of the claim that a person’s desire to bring their mother-in-law to the U.S. (or a university’s desire to admit a few students or have a lecturer travel for a seminar) granted them the ability to stand in for every single citizen of every affected country:
Denying entry to such [an unconnected] national does not burden any American party by reason of that party’s relationship with the foreign national. And the courts below did not conclude that exclusion in such circumstances would impose any legally relevant hardship on the foreign national himself.
At the same time, the Government’s interest in enforcing §2(c), and the Executive’s authority to do so, are un- doubtedly at their peak when there is no tie between the foreign national and the United States. Indeed, EO–2 itself distinguishes between foreign nationals who have some connection to this country, and foreign nationals who do not, by establishing a case-by-case waiver system primarily for the benefit of individuals in the former category . . . The interest in preserving national security is “an urgent objective of the highest order.” Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U. S. 1, 28 (2010). To prevent the Government from pursuing that objective by enforcing §2(c) against foreign nationals unconnected to the United States would appreciably injure its interests, without alleviating obvious hardship to anyone else.Even the court's lefties saw the Constitutionality of it. In fact, the dissent came from three righties who wanted a more sweeping decision:
Moreover, the only dissenters from the opinion (justices Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas) wanted the injunctions vacated in their entirety. They are correct that the court’s ruling will invite further litigation as litigants test the boundaries of the “bona fide relationships,” but the difference between the dissenters and the six remaining justices was only over the proper extent of Trump’s legal victory. For now, the constitutional and statutory primacy of the executive and legislative branches over national security and immigration has been restored.
The judges in the courts below have been celebrated as heroic resistance figures. Yet now even the Supreme Court’s most liberal justices have rejected the lower courts’ overreach.
In Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, the court made an important point about the free exercise of religion:
the Supreme Court released a ruling by a 7-2 margin finding that states cannot prohibit public funding to churches simply because they are churches. The case itself surrounds a playground at the Trinity Lutheran Church Child Learning Center; the Center sought public funding for a rubber surface. The Department of Natural Resources denied the petition, citing a blanket rule that it would not fund churches. The Court rightly found that “denying a generally available benefit solely on account of religious identity imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion.”The ruling was 7-2. In this case, it was lefties who dissented. Here's their rationale, such as it is:
Next up on the free-exercise front is a case of the sort that has been such a threat to our civilizational foundation.