WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday night asked the Supreme Court to reinstate its travel ban blocking entry from six Muslim-majority countries.
In its filings, the administration asked the nine justices to consider the legality of President Donald Trump’s executive order, a move that appeals a ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a nationwide halt to the ban.
The case marks the president’s first test of his travel ban in the nation’s highest court after multiple stinging rebukes of his national security justifications for the ban in the lower federal courts.
Last month, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals largely affirmed a federal judge’s decision from March that found the core provision of the revised executive order — temporarily blocking foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. — likely violates the Constitution because its primary purpose was to disfavor Muslims.
“We have asked the Supreme Court to hear this important case and are confident that President Trump’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the Nation safe and protect our communities from terrorism,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.
“The president is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism, until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk to the United States.”
The administration argues the travel ban should be allowed to go into effect now while the court looks at the ultimate legality of Trump’s executive order later this year, said legal analyst and professor at the University of Texas Law School Steve Vladeck.
“It’s an interesting procedural move, but the fact that it’s taken this long may undermine, at least to some extent, the Trump administration’s core argument that the entry ban, which has never gone into full effect, is essential to protect our national security,” Vladeck said.
“Thus, while it seems likely that the court will eventually hear the government’s challenge, the real question now is what happens in the interim. Are there five votes to grant a stay and allow the ban to go into effect, or will everything remain frozen until the Court has the last word.”