U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy restored President Donald Trump’s travel ban after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the admission of more refugees. With the Court set to hear arguments on the issue (after lifting prior injunctions placed on the Trump order), the decision of the Ninth Circuit seemed at odds with the prior ruling of the Court. The “Administrative Hold” will leave this matter to the Court for October arguments.
The Administration has maintained that only parents, children, siblings and in-laws constitute close relatives for the purposes of the exception to the ban. However, judges Michael Hawkins, Ronald Gould and Richard Paez held that “Stated simply, the government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not.” I happen to agree that the division of family relationships to exclude grandparents is dubious. However, this is a question reserved to the Court. Moreover, the Ninth Circuit did not stop there. It also held that working with a resettlement agency meets the standard for a “bona fide” relationship with an entity in the United States. That would dramatically increase the exception.
Since the Supreme Court ordered the ban to go into effect pending argument on June 26ht, it is odd that the Ninth Circuit would go ahead and issue such an order. The question now is whether the travel ban case will be viewed as moot when the argument rolls around given the 90 days period referenced in the order, as discussed earlier.
The case is Trump v. Hawaii, 16-1540.