SCOTUS Again Compromises on Trump's Travel Ban

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 19, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In a case of saying much without saying a lot, the Supreme Court again compromised on President Donald Trump's travel ban. This time, a one-paragraph order left in place a Hawaii judge's ruling permitting entry of "grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States."

At the same time, the Court granted the administration's request to stay part of the decision that would have made it easier for more refugees to enter the country. The Court's ruling is less than 50 words, but you can read the full decision on which it is based below:


The Supreme Court's ruling was succinct:

The Government's motion seeking clarification of our order of June 26, 2017, is denied. The District Court order modifying the preliminary injunction with respect to refugees covered by a formal assurance is stayed pending resolution of the Government's appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The "denied" part of the first sentence is in response to the Trump administration's appeal of Federal District Court Judge Derrick Watson's decision to expand what is meant by "close familial relationship" to include grandparents and other relatives. The government argued the ruling included "virtually all family members" instead of just "close" ones, but that proved unpersuasive.


Along with additional relatives, Judge Watson also ruled that refugees with ties to resettlement agencies in the U.S. that are preparing to receive them should be also exempt from the travel ban. But that part was put on hold by the Supreme Court, or "stayed" as they say in the second sentence. It's yet another split on a legal issue that's been bouncing around lower courts for months, with most of those courts siding against the government. While we're still waiting for the Supreme Court to weigh in with a more definitive decision, you can see the Hawaii court's ruling in full, below:


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