What the latest U.S. Supreme Court rulings mean for Texas

By Cassandra Pollock

With its current term ending this week, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delivered a handful of rulings on high-profile cases, including President Donald Trump's executive order barring entry into the U.S. from several predominantly Muslim countries.

The justices will return to a full plate in October. Meanwhile, here are the highlights from today's rulings, and what they mean for Texas.

Parts of Trump's travel ban are back. The Supreme Court ruled that provisions of Trump's travel ban on six mostly Muslim countries can take effect, and agreed to hear full oral arguments on the case in the fall. Under the ruling, people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen will be barred from entering the U.S. — but only if they lack formal and documented ties to America. While the Texas congressional delegation remained largely mum when Trump first issued the order in January, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton led a 16-state coalition supporting the travel ban and said in a Monday press release that the high court "clearly did the right thing."

The Supreme Court acted on religious freedom issues, too. The high court announced it will consider this fall whether a business should be forced to offer its services to a same-sex couple if its owners object on religious grounds. The issue centers on the case Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v Colorado Civil Rights, where a Colorado baker argued he had a constitutionally protected right to deny a wedding cake to a same-sex couple based on his religious beliefs. The Supreme Court also issued opinions Monday on two other related cases, ordering the state of Arkansas to list the names of same-sex parents on birth certificates and ruling that the state of Missouri can't deny public benefits to a church just because it's a religious entity. Those cases might have implications for existing Texas legislation, including this session's bill permitting the religious refusal of adoptions by certain agencies.


A cross-border shooting case was sent back to a lower court. The U.S. Supreme Court tossed Hernandez v. Mesa, a lawsuit that followed the 2010 shooting death of Mexican teenager Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, back to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The high court ordered the 5th Circuit to revisit its previous ruling that the victim's family could not sue the U.S. border patrol agent who killed him. The agent fired across the Rio Grande and killed Hernandez on the Mexican side of the international boundary.

A Texas death row inmate could face execution soon. In a 5-4 decision along ideological lines, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Erick Davila, a 30-year-old convicted in the 2008 shooting deaths of a child and her grandmother. The high court decided that lawyers used during the original trial and subsequent appeals should not be treated equally, making Davila's case ineligible for review in federal court. Davila v. Davis was the third Texas death penalty case the Supreme Court has considered this term, but Monday's ruling marked the first time the court sided with the state against the inmate.

The high court declined to hear a Second Amendment case. The Supreme Court passed on considering Peruta v. California, a case involving the right to carry guns outside the home. Multiple gun-related proposals were considered during the legislative session that ended in May, including one Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law to significantly reduce the cost to obtain a license to carry a handgun.

This article originally appeared at The Texas Tribune.

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