SCOTUS Could Drop Final Word On The Travel Ban At Any Minute

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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The U.S. Supreme Court could dispose of challenges to President Donald Trump’s travel ban at any moment.

The justices removed the case from their calendar in late September, after scheduling it for oral arguments on Oct. 10 during the summer. The 90-day ban expired on Sept. 24, prompting concern that its termination rendered the legal challenges moot. The justices asked the parties to explain if they should still hear the case given the order’s expiration.

Briefs addressing this question were submitted last week on Oct. 5. The administration urged the Court to dismiss the case for mootness, while the challengers say the legal concerns the order raises are still live.

The Court will now decide whether to proceed with the case or dismiss it altogether. The justices released orders as previously scheduled early Tuesday, which showed no action on the matter.

Should the justices decide to dismiss the case, they may also have to address the lower court rulings from the 4th and 9th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, which invalidated the president’s order for statutory and constitutional reasons. A legal rule called the Munsingwear doctrine requires that all lower court rulings in a case that is mooted while awaiting Supreme Court review must be vacated, with several exceptions. A decision to dismiss could prompt the justices to overturn the lower court rulings under Munsingwear.

The Court could announce its decision at any time.

The travel ban was replaced by another proclamation is late September, assessing travel sanctions against eight countries that fail to comply with U.S. security standards. Legal challenges to the September proclamation could reach the high court in the coming months.

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