The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 5 to 4 to uphold the Trump administration’s ban on travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries if the president believes it is necessary to protect the United States.  The ruling affirms one of President Trump’s signature policies, which he instituted via executive order a few days after taking office and a major affirmation of presidential power.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., found that a string of unprecedented comments and warnings from President Trump about Muslims did not erode the president’s vast powers to control entry into the United States.  Roberts tried to play down the political aspects of the case, writing that the proclamation that led to the ban “is squarely within the scope of presidential authority.”  “We express no view on the soundness of the policy,” Roberts wrote.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, whom President Trump nominated last year to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, was seen as a crucial vote with fellow conservative justices upholding the travel ban.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution.  The Supreme Court has upheld the clear authority of the President to defend the national security of the United States.  In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country,” President Trump said in an official statement issued by the White House.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a stinging rebuttal, joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing that the majority’s decision “repeats tragic mistakes of the past” and “tells members of minority religions” in the United States that “the are outsiders.” The court, she wrote, was “blindly accepting the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy.”

Sotomayor also compared this week’s decision to Korematsu v. United States, in which the Supreme Court in 1944 upheld the detention of Japanese Americans during World War II.  Both rulings, she said, will be considered historic mistakes.

The current ban, issued last fall, barred various travelers from eight countries, six of them with Muslim majorities.  Those countries are Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela.  Restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela were not part of the challenge.  Chad was later removed from the list.