On December 4, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court issued two orders staying preliminary injunctions against President Trump’s latest travel ban, allowing that ban to take effect while ongoing legal challenges to it are being judicially considered.
The Supreme Court’s December 4th ruling means that the administration may fully implement President Trump’s September 24, 2017 Presidential Proclamation. That proclamation imposes country-specific travel restrictions on eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. In addition, nationals of Iraq will be subject to extra screening measures. For more information regarding the country-specific travel restrictions for each of these countries, please see our previous post entitled Presidential Proclamation Outlines Rules for New Travel Ban.
In back-to-back rulings in October, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii and U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland barred the implementation of most of Trump’s third travel ban including its imposition of any travel restrictions on foreign nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. However, the Ninth Circuit later narrowed Judge Watson’s broad restriction on implementation of the ban by allowing foreign nationals from these six countries to travel to the U.S only if they demonstrate “a bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity.
The Supreme Court’s December 4th ruling will allow the travel ban to take effect, at least while the dispute is being decided by the Ninth and Fourth Circuits of the U.S. Courts of Appeals. The Supreme Court indicated that its December 4th ruling would expire if it denied any potential appeals that might be filed to challenge the Ninth and Fourth Circuits’ future rulings on the ban. However, if the Supreme Court grants such appeals, its December 4th ruling allowing the ban to take effect will remain in place until the Supreme Court renders its decision on the legality of the ban.
All sides in the dispute are in full agreement that a speedy resolution of the legality of the current revision of the travel ban is needed for the sake of universities, businesses and individuals affected by the September 24th proclamation. Oral arguments in the Ninth Circuit case are scheduled for December 6th, while arguments at the Fourth Circuit are scheduled for December 8th.
We will continue to apprise you of developments as they occur.
UPDATE: On December 22, 2017, the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s preliminary injunction against the travel ban, narrowing its scope to those with a credible bona fide relationship with the U.S. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling does not have an immediate impact, because the U.S. Supreme Court’s December 4th ruling stays the preliminary injunction until the U.S. Supreme Court either denies any potential appeal that might be filed to challenge the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, or grants such appeals and renders a decision on the legality of the ban. Therefore, the travel ban remains fully implemented.