US Supreme Court partially restores Trump travel ban

The court ruled that elements of the ban can be implemented as the legal battle continues

US Supreme Court partially restores Trump travel ban

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The US Supreme Court has partially restored Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizen’s from six predominantly Muslim Countries travelling to the US.

In what could be seen as a victory for the Trump administration, the court overturned lower court rulings blocking the ban in totality and agreed to hear arguments in the case during the autumn term – which begins in October.

The court also ruled that in the meantime, the ban can be partially implemented.

Responding to an emergency request from the Trump administration, the court ruled that the ban can be implemented "with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

It means a bona fide or "familial" relationship with a US citizen is now required for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to enter the country.

Iraqi nationals and refugees were originally banned too, but dropped from the executive order's restrictions to clean up legal problems.

Today's ruling will also allow the 120-day ban on all refugees to come into effect - provided they have no connection with the country. 

"Denying entry to such a foreign national does not burden any American party by reason of that party's relationship with the foreign national," the court said.

Responding to the court's decision to hear the case, President Trump said he was 'very grateful':

Supreme court nominee

Three of the court's conservative representatives ruled that they would have granted President Trump's request in full – including Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch.

The case marks the US president’s first major Supreme Court challenge since he restored a 5-4 Conservative majority on the bench with Gorsuch’s appointment.

Muslim ban

Critic’s have dubbed the executive order a “Muslim ban” calling it intolerant and un-American.

The state of Hawaii and a group of plaintiffs in Maryland have argued that it violates federal immigration law and the US Constitution's First Amendment prohibition on the government favouring or disfavouring any particular religion.

Regional federal appeals courts in Virginia and California both upheld district judge injunctions blocking the order.

The Trump administration has said the travel ban is needed to allow time to implement stronger vetting measures – although it has already rolled out some new requirements which were not blocked by courts, including additional questions for visa applicants.

Speaking last week, President Trump said the ban would take effect within 72 hours of being cleared by the courts.

The court will meet to agree a permanent stance on the order in the autumn.