Supreme Court dismisses 1 of 2 challenges to Trump travel ban


The Supreme Court tossed out one challenge to President Trump’s travel ban late Tuesday.

The court said the case the International Refugee Assistance Project brought against the ban is now moot since Trump’s order banning nationals from six majority-Muslim countries expired on Sept. 24.

The court said it originally agreed to hear the case to resolve a challenge to “the temporary suspension of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.”


“Because that provision of the order ‘expired by its own terms’ on September 24, 2017, the appeal no longer presents a ‘live case or controversy,’” the court said.

The court had originally planned to hear two cases challenging the order on Oct. 10 but canceled arguments after Trump issued new, targeted restrictions on travel from eight countries: Chad, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. The court ordered the parties in both cases to file additional briefs arguing whether the case is now moot given the new order.

The International Refugee Assistance Project pushed the court to hear the case. 

“Plaintiffs retain an all-too-real stake in the outcome of the case,” the group’s attorney, Omar Jadwat, said in a filing to the court on Oct. 5. 

“The 90-day ban on their relatives has now been converted into an indefinite ban with the potential to separate their families, and thousands of others’, for years.”

He said the “religious condemnation” of the earlier executive order is not dissipated Trump’s new order, “which — despite some new window dressing — continues to relay a message of disparagement to the plaintiffs and other members of their faith.”

The court has not yet ruled on whether to ultimately hear the other challenge to the ban, which was brought by the state of Hawaii. That case also challenges the part of Trump’s ban halting the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days. That provision does not expire until Oct. 24

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from Tuesday’s order vacating the judgment. She said she would have dismissed the case as improvidently granted.

The court did not express any view on the merits of the case, which originated in Maryland. 

The Trump administration was appealing a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed a lower court’s decision to put the ban on hold. In a 10-3 ruling in May, the Richmond-based appeals court said Trump’s order was “motivated” by a “desire to exclude Muslims from the United States.”

The Supreme Court, however, gave Trump a partial win in June by allowing the government to reinstate the ban. But the justices carved out an exemption for people who have a “bona fide” relationship with a person or entity in the U.S.

In the court’s order Tuesday, the justices sent the case back down to the 4th Circuit with instructions to dismiss the case as moot.


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