By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court formally dropped plans on Tuesday to hear the latest remaining challenge to an earlier version of President Donald Trump‘s travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries and a ban on refugees, but a fight over the legality of his last restrictions could still reach the nine judges.
The superior court said it will not hear Hawaii’s case on the bans, which have expired and been superseded by revised policies. Trump’s 120-day ban on refugees ended Tuesday and will be replaced by a new set of restrictions.
Two lower courts have blocked Trump’s new ban targeting people from eight countries, Trump’s third set of travel restrictions, and the issue could return to the Supreme Court on appeal.
On October 10, the court settled the first of two travel ban cases, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and others in Maryland, after Trump’s earlier 90-day ban on people entering the The US from six predominantly Muslim countries expired in September. 24. It was replaced by a modified open ban involving eight countries.
The judges had been scheduled to hear arguments in the two consolidateds on October 10.
Among the issues raised by the challengers was whether the travel ban discriminated against Muslims in violation of the United States Constitution’s prohibition on the government favoring or wasting a particular religion. The same arguments are being used against the new ban.
Trump has said the restrictions were necessary to prevent terrorism in the United States.
The expired ban had targeted people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. The new ban removed Sudan from the list and blocked people from Chad and North Korea and certain Venezuelan government officials from entering the United States.
If the new restrictions take effect, they could block tens of thousands of potential immigrants and visitors to the United States. Trump had promised as a candidate “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
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