© Reuters. International travelers arrive on the day that United States President Donald Trump‘s limited travel ban, approved by the United States Supreme Court, goes into effect at Logan Airport in Boston.
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Opponents of President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries on Thursday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the legality of the policy even though it has been superseded by a plan. reviewed.
In separate letters to the court, the American Civil Liberties Union and the state of Hawaii said judges should still hear the case, which had been scheduled for arguments next week, but was pulled from their calendar after the administration announced the new ban last month.
The challengers, who characterized the new ban as an indefinite extension of the previous one, said the people who sued have an interest in having the expired measure declared illegal because they continue to be harmed by the new policy.
Hawaii also told the court in a separate letter that it intended to challenge Trump’s latest travel ban by seeking on Friday to amend its existing lawsuit against the previous one.
The Justice Department urged judges not to hear the case, to discard earlier lower court rulings that had overturned the ban, and to order the challenge be dismissed.
Trump’s three successive moves to block the entry of people from several predominantly Muslim countries into the United States are among his most controversial acts since he took office in January. Trump had promised as a candidate “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
The ACLU told the court that the plaintiffs who sued to stop the policy “retain too real a stake in the outcome of the case” despite the original 90-day travel ban for people from six countries expiring on September 24. That order was signed by Trump in March and enacted with some changes in June with high court approval.
On September 25, the judges asked all parties to present court documents expressing opinions on whether the case was moot, meaning that there was nothing left to decide, because the temporary ban expired.
That ban had targeted people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. The new indefinite ban announced in a presidential proclamation on September 24 removed Sudan from the list and blocked the entry into the United States of people from Chad and North Korea and certain government officials from Venezuela.
Among the questions raised by challengers is whether the ban discriminates against Muslims in violation of the US Constitution’s prohibition on the government favoring or wasting a particular religion.
PROHIBITION OF REFUGEES
A separate 120-day ban on refugees from entering the United States that was part of Trump’s March order expires on October 24.
Hawaii attorneys said that even if the higher court decides not to enter a ruling, it should leave the lower court’s decisions in place. Doing otherwise would allow the administration to effectively win the case by erasing the rulings that had gone against Trump, Hawaii argued.
The Justice Department said it wants the lower court rulings overturned because otherwise, challengers will subpoena them in new litigation against Trump’s amended ban.
“Lower courts should reconsider challenges to the proclamation based on its wording, operation and findings,” wrote the Justice Department attorneys.
The weekly closed-door meeting where the judges consider next steps in the cases before them is scheduled for Friday morning. The court can make an announcement at any time.
The new ban could affect tens of thousands of potential immigrants and visitors to the United States. Opponents have said that, like the two previous orders of January and March, it was still effectively a “Muslim ban.”
Even if the Supreme Court dismissed the previous case, you may still have to intervene on the matter in the future. Several challengers have filed a lawsuit against the reworked ban, and those cases could potentially go to higher court.