The Supreme Court denied a Department of Justice request to clarify its June 26 travel ban ruling Tuesday, effectively upholding a lower court order which curtailed Trump administration guidance on the scope of exemptions from the ban.
The high court allowed President Donald Trump’s travel ban to take effect in June, but required that the government continue to admit individuals from the six countries named in the order who have a significant connection to the United States.
The Department of State originally concluded that certain relatives of U.S. citizens from the affected countries possessed a “significant connection” but that others, like grandparents and cousin, did not. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, the same judge that stayed the revised order in March, modified State’s guidance and required consular officers to admit any person from the affected countries with a first-degree relation in the United States.
The State Department acquiesced and added grandparents to its list of protected relatives Monday, but continued to exclude others. The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to clarify its original order and resolve the dispute last week, but the Court declined to do so.
Watson’s order also provided that refugees seeking resettlement in the United States could qualify for an exemption from the ban if they were previously in contact with a refugee agency who had given them assurances of assistance. The justices stayed this portion of Watson’s order, pending an appeal in the 9th Circuit.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch noted they would have stayed Watson’s order in its entirety.
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