Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump described today's Supreme Court decision on his travel ban as a "clear victory for our national security," but as Justice Clarence Thomas makes clear in his dissenting opinion, Trump's "victory" is muddy at best.

Why this matters: Trump can claim a symbolic win but the reality is that the Supreme Court isn't upholding his travel ban; it's allowing a much softer version of the original ban to stay in place until the Court hears the case properly in a few months.

Instead of halting travel for 90 days from six countries deemed to be terrorist threats — and suspending the U.S. refugee program for 120 days — the Court will let travelers from the banned countries enter the U.S. if they have "bona fide relationships" with people or entities in the U.S. That's a far cry from January, when senior White House officials wanted to bar green card holders and people traveling for medical emergencies.

  • For instance: Refugee resettlement agencies are already telling reporters that they interpret their relationships with their clients as "bona fide relationships."

Justice Thomas predicts these relationships will be very difficult, if not impossible, to police:

  • "I fear that the Court's remedy will prove unworkable," he writes in his dissent, also signed by justices Gorsuch and Alito. "Today's compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding — on peril of contempt — whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country."
  • "The compromise," he adds, "also will invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved on the merits, as parties and courts struggle to determine what exactly constitutes a 'bona fide relationship,' who precisely has a 'credible claim' to that relationship, and whether the claimed relationship was formed 'simply to avoid'" Trump's executive order.

On the bright-side (for Trump): the Supreme Court justices were far more respectful of his executive authorities than the lower courts. And we can already see from their dissenting opinion that three of the Supreme Court justices — Thomas, Gorsuch, and Alito — are inclined to support Trump's full travel ban.

Go deeper

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
28 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus death rates rising across the country

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, Census Bureau; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Daily coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday, when roughly 2,800 people died from the virus.

The big picture: Caseloads and hospitalizations continue to rise, and deaths are spiking in states all across the country.

28 mins ago - World

Ratcliffe's long-term China play

Ratcliffe testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in May. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Axios in an interview Thursday that "China and China alone is the only country that has the ability to compete with the U.S." — and hopes the intelligence community will adopt his view even under "the next administration."

Why it matters: Ratcliffe's comments suggested that he's trying to lock in the Trump era's harder line on China for the long term.