The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by narrowing the scope of lower court rulings that blocked his travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries and agreeing to hear his appeals in the cases.
The justices granted parts of his administration's emergency request to put the March 6 executive order into effect immediately while the legal battle continues. The court also said it would partly allow a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the United States to go into effect.
Shortly after the ruling, Trump hailed the decision and said: "Today's unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security," Trump said in a White House statement.
"It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective. As president, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm."
In January, Trump signed an executive order blocking the entry of people from Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. However, this was defeated by legal challenges in the states of Washington and Minnesota.
An altered order -- dropping Iraq and proposing a 90-day suspension of visas for people from the other six countries, as well as a 120-day hiatus on the admission of refugees -- was blocked by a court in Maryland.
A federal judge in Hawaii also sided with the ban's opponents.
On May 25, a federal appeals court in Virginia refused to lift the temporary block, saying the Trump's order "drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination".
The American Civil Liberties Union said on Twitter: "We've beat this hateful ban and are ready to do it again."
The Supreme Court filled a 14-month vacancy in April when Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate.
The U.S.'s highest court now has five conservative and four liberal judges on its bench but its decisions are unlikely to be split along party lines in a complex case that involves debate around the powers of the executive branch and the freedom of religion.