Saturday, July 15, 2017
The meaning of the specifics of Supreme Court's per curiam order in the travel ban litigation has been the subject of considerable debate, controversy, and litigation. Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog explains the latest controversy:
"Within a few days of the Supreme Court’s June 26 order, the federal government issued guidance on the kinds of “close” family relationships that would allow travelers from the countries affected by the ban to seek visas. The government’s definition included spouses (and fiancés or fiancées), children and parents (including by marriage) and siblings, but did not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins or siblings in law.
The challengers in the Hawaii case went back to court, asking U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson to clarify that the second group of relatives also qualified as “close” family relationships for purposes of the Supreme Court’s June 26 order. Judge Watson initially declined to do so, but – on appeal – the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit suggested that he had the authority to enforce or modify an existing order blocking the implementation of the ban. When the challengers returned to his court, Judge Watson did exactly that, adopting an expanded definition of “close” that included the second group of relatives. He also ruled that, for purposes of the June 26 order, the ban would not apply to refugees for whom the federal government has entered into an agreement with a resettlement agency, because those refugees have the kind of genuine relationship with a U.S. institution that the justices envisioned.
On Friday the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to clarify that Judge Watson’s ruling goes beyond the scope of its June 26 order and to block the ruling from going into effect."