By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a legal challenge to President Donald Trump's most recent effort to curtail immigration from six Muslim-majority countries.
The top court announced the decision in a one-sentence order. Arguments in the case are expected to take place in April with a final ruling expected by June.
The travel ban being taken up by the court is the third iteration of Trump's immigration overhaul that has been criticized as an unconstitutional "Muslim ban" and has been dealt successive legal defeats in lower courts before being allowed to proceed by the Supreme Court in December while the appeals process played out.
The most recent travel ban includes six Muslim-majority countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as two non-Muslim majority nations: North Korea and Venezuela.
The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the legality of any of the versions the Trump administration has put forward. It planned to rule on one, but that version expired and was replaced before it could be taken up.
The first version of Trump's travel ban targeted seven Muslim-majority countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Trump signed it shortly after assuming office, acting on a campaign pledge he made to carry out "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on”.
The Justice Department has consistently said Trump's rhetoric is not cogent to legal proceedings, but his words and his social media posts have been cited in lower court rulings.
The administration has maintained the travel bans are wholly in the national security interest and consistent with Trump's presidential powers.