The Supreme Court formally removed the second of two challenges to President Donald Trump’s March 6 executive order from its docket today. The March 6 order, sometimes known as the “travel ban,” had blocked travel to the United States by nationals of six Muslim-majority countries and suspended the admission of refugees into the United States. The Supreme Court had scheduled the challenges to the March 6 order – one of which hailed from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, and the other from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit – for oral argument on October 10. However, the Supreme Court removed both challenges from its argument calendar after the president issued a new proclamation in late September. The justices dismissed the 4th Circuit challenge, which dealt only with the freeze on the admission of nationals from the six Muslim-majority countries, earlier this month, after the freeze expired. Today’s order dismissed the case from the 9th Circuit; that case also challenged the 120-day suspension on the admission of refugees, which expired today. The brief order, like the order dismissing the 4th Circuit challenge, sent the case back to the 9th Circuit with instructions to dismiss it as moot. As she had in the order dismissing the 4th Circuit case, Justice Sonia Sotomayor indicated that she would have left the 9th Circuit’s ruling against the federal government in place, and she would have dismissed the case as improvidently granted, rather than moot.
Although today’s action removes the cases challenging the president’s March 6 order from the Supreme Court’s docket, challenges to the president’s new proclamation could be back before the justices soon: Federal trial courts in Hawaii and Maryland have already ruled against the government in the new challenges.
This post was later republished at SCOTUSblog.