The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban on several majority-Muslim countries, handing the administration a major victory in a policy debate plagued by controversy and protest since Trump took office.
The 5-4 ruling backs up the Trump administration’s claims that the ban is for national security purposes, overruling lower court blocks put in place over arguments that the ban is a form of religious discrimination, according to NBC News.
After previous versions of the ban were struck down, the Supreme Court on Tuesday approved the latest version of the ban issued in September, which restricts visas granted to seven countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela.
In December, the Supreme Court lifted the stay imposed on the order by federal courts, allowing the ban to take effect while the court worked on a final ruling.
The Trump administration has argued that this version of the ban is constitutional because it is based on a country’s ability to provide key information about visa applicants in an effort to deter terrorism, and that it’s not based on religious affiliations.
The Justice Department also backed up the president’s constitutional authority to issue travel bans on the basis of national security.
But opponents of the ban, including the state of Hawaii, which initially blocked it from taking effect, argue that the ban is too broad to justify a national security concern and that Trump’s comments on the campaign trail about a proposed Muslim ban signal that the ban is based on religious animus.
The Supreme Court ruling supports the president’s authority, however, and clears the way for the White House to continue its policy of barring travelers from these countries from entering the U.S.
SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2018