Today the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from the US Government arguing that the injunction placed on the Executive Order that banned travel from 6 majority muslim countries was should be lifted. In agreeing to take the case, the Supreme Court also looked at whether the current temporary injunction should stay in effect. The Court determined that the injunction on the travel ban and the refugee ban should stay in effect insofar as it affected people who were similarly situated as the Plaintiff’s in the case – that is to say foreigners with familial or other ties to the US (through organizations or companies). However the Supreme Court lifted the injunction (allowing the travel ban to be put into place) for everyone else, that is to say those with NO such ties to the US. Why did the Court lift the ban in certain cases? Basically, the Court weighted the harm to persons affected by the travel ban and refugee ban with the interests of our Government as described by the current administration. The Court agreed with the lower Courts that the interests of the Plaintiff’s and those similarly situated to the Plaintiff’s, outweighed the interests of the Government. But for those with no ties to the US, the Court found that the interest of our Government outweighed the interests of those individuals.
I think that there are two additional questions to ask here: First, what does the above mean and how will it be implemented? The second question is, does this ruling allow for any indication of how the Court will rule on the injunction itself?
To answer the first question, it is a little hard to say how the Department of Homeland Security will read the decision, however it appears that the Court only meant to narrowly lift the injunction. Anyone who has relatives in the US or a job in the US, or a job offer, or other relationship with an organization or business in the US is still covered by the injunction. It is only those people who have no relationship with any person or organization for whom the Ban can now be put into place. This is a narrowly drawn exception to the injunction currently in place, and many people will not be covered by the Travel Ban.
In terms of whether or not this tips the hand of the Court in terms of how they may rule on the case when it comes before them, I think it shows that a majority of the Court will, most likely, uphold the injunction. But this is just my opinion, and we will have to see what happens.
Lastly, for those who are from one of the six named countries, please, please, please, call your immigration attorney before traveling outside the US so that they can discuss any potential issues with you.
Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.