President Donald Trump’s travel ban policy is back at the Supreme Court just weeks after the justices announced they were dumping a challenge to an earlier version of the administration’s effort to crack down on immigration from countries deemed to be a terrorism threat.
The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on Monday evening to allow officials to implement the entirety of the revised policy Trump issued in September via a presidential proclamation. The third iteration of Trump’s travel ban limits to varying degrees issuance of visas for travel to the U.S. by citizens of eight countries, six of which are majority Muslim.
Critics have said the policy is transparently a version of the Muslim ban Trump promised during last year’s presidential campaign. Administration lawyers have insisted the directives are not related to that vow, although their arguments have sometimes been undermined by statements from the president that appeared to reinforce the notion of a connection
In a temporary ruling last week, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel allowed the new limits to kick in, but the judges exempted visa applicants with bona fide ties to U.S. citizens or with concrete connections to U.S. companies, schools or organizations. The ruling largely aligned with a similar one from a district court judge in Maryland whose decision is on appeal to the 4th Circuit.
The stay application the Justice Department filed Monday asks that Trump’s September order be allowed to take full effect. In the alternative, federal government lawyers argue that any relief in the case should be limited to parties directly connected to the plaintiffs in the case: the state of Hawaii, three local Muslim residents and a Muslim association in the state.
“The Proclamation is based on the President’s affirmative determinations — made following a comprehensive, multi-Department review — that particular countries’ information sharing is in fact deficient,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote. “The [Hawaii] district court’s decision improperly second-guesses those findings and disables the Executive from fully responding to existing and identified national-security risks.”
Francisco argues that courts should not second-guess Trump’s determination that limiting immigration from the eight countries — Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela — is in the national security and foreign policy interests of the U.S.
“The Proclamation expressly finds that the suspensions imposed are in the national interest. That should be the end of the matter,” Francisco argues.