The US Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to block a federal judge’s ruling that prevented President Donald Trump’s travel ban from being applied to grandparents of US citizens and refugees already being
processed by resettlement agencies.
In a court filing, the administration asked the nine Supreme Court justices to overturn Thursday’s decision by a US district judge in Hawaii, which limited the scope of the administration’s temporary ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.
The latest round in the fight over Trump’s March 6 executive order, which he says is needed for national security reasons, came after the Supreme Court intervened last month to partially revive the two bans, which were blocked by lower courts.
The Supreme Court said then that the ban could take effect, but that people with a “bona fide relationship” to a US person or entity could not be barred.
The administration had narrowly interpreted that language, saying the ban would apply to grandparents and other family members, prompting the state of Hawaii to ask Hawaii-based US District Judge Derrick Watson to expand the definition of who could be admitted.
He ruled for the state late on Thursday.
In the court filing, the Justice Department said the judge’s ruling “empties the (Supreme) Court’s decision of meaning, as it encompasses not just “close” family members but virtually all family members.
The conservative-leaning Supreme Court is not currently in session but the justices can handle emergency requests.
Trump’s March 6 executive order bars visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and refugees for 120 days. The administration insists it is necessary to keep violent extremists out of the country.