WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump’s administration asked the Supreme Court Thursday morning to lift the court orders blocking his travel ban and to take up the case on an expedited basis.
In a brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, the Trump administration again argued the President has broad discretion to decide matters that relate to the nexus of immigration and national security, and the courts have inappropriately undercut that authority.
The request is likely an attempt to refocus the debate the day after the state of Hawaii filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to let the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling stand, particularly as it made allowances for the Trump administration to conduct studies with an eye toward crafting a new immigration policy based explicitly on national security interests.
“This case warrants review,” Wall said in the 22-page document. “Indeed, respondents previously conceded ‘the fundamental importance of the underlying legal issues.’”
The state of Hawaii pointed out just yesterday that 13 appellate judges have invalidated the travel ban, whether in its first incarnation or the revised version, and that the Supreme Court need not trouble itself with a case that enjoys such widespread judicial consensus.
But the Trump administration countered that eight appellate judges have either voted to uphold the ban or at least acknowledged the legal rationale behind the Trump administration’s position.
“The fact that the decision below nullifies a national-security directive of the President warrants review regardless of whether the circuits are divided,” Wall wrote.
Trump wrote the first executive order commonly known as the “travel ban,” on January 27, barring entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries including Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.
The immediate implementation of the executive order threw the nation’s airports into chaos, and a preliminary injunction pausing the travel ban was issued within a week. Trump appealed the injunction to the Ninth Circuit, which refused to reinstate the ban.
The Trump administration did not appeal to the Supreme Court but issued a similar revised order that no longer applied to Iraq, but to the rest of the six countries.
That version was also challenged and a federal judge in Hawaii issued another preliminary injunction, disallowing the ban from being implemented. This injunction was also appealed and the Ninth Circuit again neglected to reinstate the ban.
A similar case made its way to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which also ruled against reinstating the embattled executive order.
In all instances, the courts ruled there was enough evidence to show plaintiffs had a likelihood of prevailing on their claims that Trump’s executive order violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, which protects freedom of religion.
In other words, the courts found enough evidence that Trump enacted the ban with the express purpose of discriminating against Muslims rather than for national security purposes.
Trump is appealing decisions from the Ninth and Fourth Circuits to the Supreme Court, which has yet to decide whether it will take up the case.
Hawaii says such a step is unnecessary because the Trump administration is able to review its immigration policy and either provide the national security rationale for the ban or not before the Supreme Court could even rule on the travel ban decisions, rendering the Supreme Court’s involvement moot.
But the Trump administration appears eager to have the court weigh in on the central question of whether or not the President is within his legal purview to implement executive orders that pertain to national security and immigration.
“Respondents’ argument boils down to a policy disagreement with the President’s risk assessment and whether the Order adequately addresses it,” Wall wrote.