The Supreme Court has agreed to temporarily restore Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, per a request made by Justice Department lawyers on Monday. Last Thursday, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals “unanimously declined to overturn” a previous ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii who determined that the executive order’s language concerning relatives was too narrow, thereby needlessly separating immigrant and refugee families on American soil and abroad.
When the White House complained to the Supreme Court shortly thereafter, they upheld Federal District Court Judge Derrick Watson’s ruling. Despite these setbacks, the Trump administration chose to wait for the 9th Circuit’s involvement last week, but unfortunately their strategy didn’t pan out. So Justice Department lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court on Monday, asking the justices to let immigration officials block many of refugees denied temporarily by the executive order:
“The Ninth Circuit’s decision renders the June 26 stay functionally inoperative,” Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall argued in the filing Monday. “It makes no sense to exempt from… the Order the roughly 24,000 refugees for whom assurances exist, based on the happenstance that they had reached a later stage of the administrative process in which the government routinely obtains assurances.”
Since the Ninth Circuit’s decision goes into effect on Tuesday, as BuzzFeed News’ Chris Geidner notes, the Supreme Court “must act fast” if they choose to abide by the Justice Department’s request. So observers should “not be surprised if there’s a temporary stay of the 9th Circuit’s ruling while SCOTUS considers DOJ’s request.” Otherwise, Watson’s original ruling will officially go into effect, thereby requiring the Trump administration to “dramatically increase” the number of refugees it allows into the country.
Thanks to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s ruling on Monday, however, Watson’s ruling will not go into effect after all. For as Bloomberg notes, the “lower court ruling [is now] on hold until the high court decides whether to grant the administration’s request for a longer-term order.” Any persons or parties who oppose the travel ban must file their formal grievances by Tuesday at noon.