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Supreme Court Coverage
Explaining each case in an infographic.
The Travel Ban ruling goes in favor of Trump.
June 27, 2018
The conservative wing of the Supreme Court ruled President Trump's Travel Ban (Version 3) is not likely to violate federal law or the Constitution. The real disagreement among the Justices came down to the Constitutional argument. Was the executive order motivated by religious animus?
The Constitution's Establishment Clause prohibits the government from discriminating on the basis of religion. So the Court was set to determine whether Trump's executive order passed the religious discrimination test.
And the "test" is really what made the difference. How harshly would the Court review the President's rationale supporting the executive order?
The 5-member Court majority set the standard of review. The Justices ruled as long as the executive order was religiously neutral "on its face" - meaning, it did not directly discriminate against religion - the Court just needed to make sure that the regulation was "rationally related" to a "legitimate government interest."
With such a lenient standard, the majority was unwilling to give great weight to the many statements in the record by the President and his staff that could have shown religious animus. The Court was not allowed to look behind the President's stated national security rationale, as long as it seemed legitimate.
The dissenting Justices would have used the record more instrumentally.
View the infographic here.