Trump administration asks for more time to file travel ban briefs

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 13, 2017 12:57 PM

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court for more time to file papers responding to an appeals court ruling that upheld a block on a proposed travel ban on people entering the United States from six Muslim-majority countries.

The high court is weighing the administration's two emergency applications asking for the ban issued on March 6 to immediately go into effect. The March ban was Trump's second effort to impose travel restrictions through an executive order.

In a letter, Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall said a ruling on Monday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco means the government needs to file a new brief, which he proposed doing by June 15.

Wall said the 9th Circuit ruling in favor of the state of Hawaii is "the first addressing the executive order at issue to rest relief on statutory rather than constitutional grounds."

Wall noted that the lawyer for Hawaii objected to the proposal outlined in the letter.

Under the government's scenario, the Supreme Court would be able to discuss how to act on the emergency application at its private conference on June 22, Wall said.

The high court could still act before then on the separate emergency request in a similar case from Maryland.

Federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii blocked Trump's 90-day ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Hawaii judge also blocked a 120-day ban on refugees entering the United States.

The 9th Circuit largely upheld the Hawaii injunction on Monday.

In the second case, the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on May 25 upheld the Maryland judge's ruling.

The lawsuits by Hawaii and the Maryland challengers argued that the executive order violated federal immigration law and a section of the Constitution's First Amendment, which prohibits the government from favoring or disfavoring any particular religion.

Trump's first order on Jan. 27 led to chaos and protests at airports and in various cities before being blocked by the courts. The second order was intended to overcome the legal issues posed by the original ban, but was blocked by judges before it could go into effect on March 16.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; editing by Grant McCool)