The Trump administration filed its final brief Wednesday urging the Supreme Court to reinstate the president's travel ban and hear its appeal of a lower court ruling blocking the executive order.
The administration filed the brief a day before the justices are scheduled to convene. It takes a vote of four justices to take up a case and a vote of five to halt the lower court rulings that blocked the ban nationwide.
The administration submitted its final brief ahead of a noon deadline Wednesday after parties fighting President Trump's March 6 executive action were ordered to file their responses to the government's request.
The administration has pushed to reinstate the 90-day ban on nationals from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S., arguing that the countries affected by the revised order are at heightened risk for terrorism. The order also temporarily suspends the U.S. refugee program.
The International Refugee Assistance Project is challenging the ban, in addition to the state of Hawaii. They told the court there is no reason to take the case because there is no circuit split to resolve.
A disagreement in opinion among the lower courts is typically the most important criteria for the justices in deciding whether to review a case.
Though the administration acknowledged in its briefs that 13 appellate judges — between the 4th and 9th circuits — voted to invalidate the president’s order, the Justice Department noted in its briefs that eight appellate judges voted to uphold it.
“In any event, the fact that the decision below nullifies a national-security directive of the President warrants review regardless of whether the circuits are divided. This Court has granted review on important questions of immigration law in the absence of any square, developed conflict,” the Justice Department said. “It should do the same here.”
Lower courts in Maryland and Hawaii were the first to block Trump’s policy. The administration has argued that the countries affected by its order— Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — are at heightened risk for terrorism. The court ruling, the Justice Department claims, creates uncertainty about the president's authority to combat that risk.