Feds appeal judge’s travel ban ruling to Supreme Court

Lawyers for the Trump administration went back to the Supreme Court again late Friday in the ongoing battle over President Donald Trump’s travel ban – this time asking the justices to resolve the uncertainty created by last month’s ruling on which foreign nationals are exempt from the ban.

“Once again, we are faced with a situation in which a single federal district court has undertaken by a nationwide injunction to micromanage decisions of the co-equal Executive Branch related to our national security”, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. The Trump administration has narrowly interpreted that language.

In that ruling the justices sought to strike a middle ground balancing Mr. Trump’s powers versus the rights of a select group of people in the U.S. Justice Department lawyers, though, said if Judge Watson is right, nearly everyone can continue to travel to the U.S. despite the ban.

Only the Supreme Court can decide these issues surrounding the travel ban, the Justice Department said.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled on Thursday that the ban could apply neither to grandparents of U.S. citizens nor to refugees already being processed by resettlement agencies, as the Trump administration had wanted.

“And the district court’s sweeping interpretation of “close familial relationship”.to encompass a wide range of distant relatives – including cousins, uncles, and siblings-in-law – effectively eliminates the “close” requirement and has no basis in this Court’s ruling”.

The judge unilaterally made a decision to expand the interpretation to include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and siblings-in-law.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas S. Chin, who sought the broader definition, said Thursday’s ruling “makes clear that the USA government may not ignore the scope of the partial travel ban as it sees fit”. “Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members”. According to Judge Watson, the State Department did not correctly understand the order of the highest federal court.

Watson’s ruling could help more than 24,000 refugees already vetted and approved by the United States but barred by the 120-day freeze on refugee admissions, said Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, a resettlement agency.

In a court filing on Friday, the administration asked the justices to overturn Thursday’s decision by a USA district judge in Hawaii, which limited the scope of the administration’s temporary ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.

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