The Supreme Court on Tuesday scrapped one of the legal challenges to President Trump’s travel ban, saying the new policy the White House announced late last month supersedes the older policy.
The justices ordered the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate its previous ruling that the ban was unconstitutional and to dismiss the case, which was brought by the International Refugee Assistance Project.
The justices did not say what they will do with another challenge lodged by Hawaii, which came up through the 9th Circuit, and which covered a broader set of objections than the 4th Circuit case.
In a brief order, the court said the original executive order’s 90-day pause on admissions from six majority-Muslim countries had expired, so the 4th Circuit Case no longer presents a live controversy.
The court made clear it was not taking a position on the merits of the case.
While the 4th Circuit had only ruled Mr. Trump’s 90-day pause unconstitutional, the 9th Circuit had also ruled the president’s 120-day halt on refugee admissions to be illegal. That 120-day period expires later this month, suggesting that at least, for now, it remains a live controversy.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the court’s order, saying she would have instead just sent the case back to the lower appeals court to be continued.
Mr. Trump last month revised the six-country travel ban first issued in March.
He subtracted Sudan and added in Chad, North Korea and Venezuela to the list of countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen — that faced restrictions. He said the updates came after a lengthy review process that involved checking the levels of cooperation from nearly 200 countries.
The updated policy is already facing legal challenges from immigrant rights groups who say despite adding in non-Muslim countries, the president’s rhetoric during the campaign targeting Islam has poisoned everything he does on this issue.
The IRAP, the plaintiffs who had their challenge tossed Tuesday, are among those challenging the updated policy.
“This case is certainly not moot for our clients and for all of those who continue to be discriminated against by this shameful order and its updated version,” the organization said.
Meanwhile Hawaii, the plaintiff in the case that’s still alive before the justices, filed an updated complaint in federal district court challenging the revised policy.
Hawaii said the latest policy still carries out “the president’s unrepudiated promise to exclude Muslims from the United States.”
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