The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would decide whether President Trump’s revised travel ban was lawful, setting the stage for a major decision on the scope of presidential power.
Mr. Trump’s revised executive order, issued in March, limited travel from six mostly Muslim countries for 90 days and suspended the nation’s refugee program for 120 days. The time was needed, the order said, to address gaps in the government’s screening and vetting procedures.
Two federal appeals courts have blocked critical parts of the order.
The administration had asked that the lower court ruling be stayed while the case moved forward. The court granted part of that request in its unsigned opinion.
The justices, in effect, said that foreigners with ties or relationships in the United States would not be prohibited from entering the country. But, those applying for visas who had never been here, or had no family, business or other ties could be prohibited.
“We grant the government’s applications to stay the injunctions, to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of” Mr. Trump’s executive order, the ruling said, “with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
The justices said the distinction should be easy to administer. “In practical terms, this means that” the executive order “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch, dissented from part of the court’s opinion. They said they would have revived the travel ban in its entirety while the court considered the case.