In a victory for President Donald Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday to allow his latest travel ban to remain in force while the legal fight continues in the lower courts.
Seven of the justices ruled in favor of the administration while two — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor — said the partial stay on the ban should continue.
The court did not give a reason for its decision.
The travel ban — the third one Trump has issued — bars most travelers from eight countries — Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. Six are Muslim-majority nations.
Lower court judges in Maryland and Hawaii had blocked the ban from being enforced.
The court's decision Monday essentially throws out a compromise that exempted foreign nationals who have credible claims of a bona fide relationship with someone in the United States. That includes grandparents, brothers- and sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Lawyers for the state of Hawaii argued there was no reason for the Supreme Court to enter the case at this time because the Court had already acknowledged that some travelers from the eight countries can be safely vetted and get visas.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions called Monday's ruling a "substantial victory for the safety and security of the American people," and said Trump's travel ban is necessary to protect the country from threats.
A lawyer for the Trump administration argued that some foreign governments are deficient in sharing information about those seeking U.S. visas, posing a possible risk to the U.S.
White House Deputy Press Spokesman Hogan Gidley said Monday's Supreme Court decision is not surprising and says it is "essential to protecting our homeland."
But the Council on American-Islamic Relations again called the travel ban a Muslim ban.
"The Supreme Court's actions today are a good reminder that we can't simply rely on the courts to address the Trump administrations' efforts to marginalize Muslims and other minorities," CAIR attorney Gadeir Abbas said.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments for and against the Trump travel ban as soon as the issue has made its way through the lower courts.