The state of Hawaii fired back this morning, urging the Supreme Court to stay out of the most recent skirmish in the battle over President Donald Trump’s March 6 executive order, often known as the “travel ban.” Yesterday the Trump administration went to the justices to ask them to block a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that would have carved out an exemption from the ban for the approximately 24,000 refugees who are covered by an agreement between a refugee resettlement agency and the U.S. government. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles emergency appeals from the 9th Circuit, quickly acquiesced to the federal government’s request, at least temporarily, and directed the challengers to respond.
In today’s 32-page filing, Hawaii describes the current dispute as a “highly fact-intensive scenario” in which the Supreme Court would not normally get involved. In its June 26 order allowing part of the ban to go into effect, the state explains, the Supreme Court “laid out a legal standard” that the lower courts have “diligently and correctly applied,” removing any need for the justices to intervene.
The state also pushes back against the Trump administration’s argument, made in yesterday’s submission to the court, that the 9th Circuit’s ruling “would as a practical matter render” the Supreme Court’s late June order on refugees “a dead letter.” The state assures the justices that the Trump administration “retains the authority to bar tens of thousands of refugees from entering the country, as indeed it has done for months.” And in any event, it adds, with oral argument in the case scheduled for October 10, the question will be a moot point soon.
Kennedy acted swiftly yesterday, imposing the temporary stay within a matter of hours; either Kennedy or the full court will likely move quickly again today.
This post was also republished at SCOTUSblog.com.