The Supreme Court said Friday that it would take up a challenge to the latest version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
Oral arguments will be heard in April.
In a two-sentence order, the court said it will consider questions concerning whether the ban violates immigration law as well as the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
Late last year, the justices allowed the entire travel ban issued in September to go into effect pending appeal.
The court’s eventual ruling will determine the fate of the third attempt of the Trump administration to restrict entry to people from several Muslim-majority countries, and it marks the second time the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the issue.
A case concerning the legality of a previous version of the ban was on the Court’s calendar for earlier in the term but the justices removed it after the President issued this version of the travel ban in September.
The ban places varying levels of restrictions on foreign nationals from eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Yemen.
Blocked by lower courts
Lower courts in two separate challenges have partially blocked the ban.
A three-judge panel of judges on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that travel ban 3.0 exceeds the President’s authority, calling it “an executive override of broad swaths of immigration laws that Congress has used its considered judgment to enact.”
In addition, the ban’s “indefinite entry suspensions constitute nationality discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas,” the judges wrote.
They also said the ban does not adequately explain why people from certain countries are a danger: “The Proclamation makes no finding that nationality alone renders entry of this broad class of individuals a heightened security risk or that current screening processes are inadequate.”
The pending petition concerns a challenge brought by the State of Hawaii.
Neal Katyal, the state’s lead lawyer, argued in court papers that the President’s proclamation is “without precedent in this Nation’s history” and “purports to ban over 150 million aliens from this country based on nationality alone.”
“The immigration laws do not grant the President this power,” Katyal said.
The Trump administration has maintained that the President has the authority to install travel bans in order to protect national security.
The “Constitution and Acts of Congress confer on the President broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens outside of the United States when he deems it in the Nation’s interest,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in court papers.
Francisco noted that the latest travel ban was put in place “after a worldwide review by multiple government agencies” meant to determine whether foreign governments provide sufficient information that would allow the United States to properly screen aliens seeking entry from abroad.