The Department of Justice will return to the Supreme Court to defend President Donald Trump’s travel ban, after a federal judge in Hawaii modified administration guidance concerning the scope of exemptions prohibited by the justices.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson found that an enforcement rule excluding grandparents and a variety of other familial relations from exemptions to the ban is invalid. The Supreme Court stayed several lower court rulings barring enforcement of the president’s order in late June, but provided an exemption for foreign nationals possessing a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
The administration determined that close familial relations like parents, children, and siblings possess a “bona fide relationship,” but other relations like grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles did not. Watson’s order requires the administration to admit both categories of relatives.
“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.
“The Supreme Court has had to correct this lower court once, and we will now reluctantly return directly to the Supreme Court to again vindicate the rule of law and the executive branch’s duty to protect the nation,” he added.
The judge also expanded the exemptions for potential refugees, finding that refugees can claim a bona fide relationship with a U.S. entity if they have secured assurances of assistance from a resettlement agency in the United States.
The government’s petition will be referred to Justice Anthony Kennedy, the justice assigned to hear emergency motions arising from this court. He will then refer the motion to the full Court.
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