Late Friday night, the Trump administration kept its word and appealed the flip flop ruling of U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii, which again disrupts President Trump’s so-called travel ban directly to the Supreme Court.
As we reported previously, Judge Watson flipped flopped on this issue in the course of one week.
On July 6 Judge Watson denied an emergency motion challenging President Donald J. Trump’s so-called travel ban. Hawaii and a local imam sought to have grandparents and other relatives exempt from the executive order, which the Supreme Court allowed to partially be implemented in June:
This Court will not upset the Supreme Court’s careful balancing and “equitable judgment” brought to bear when “tailor[ing] a stay” in this matter.
[. . .]
This Court declines to usurp the prerogative of the Supreme Court to interpret its own order . . .
Then on July 13, Judge Watson decided differently and chose to rule on the relationship question instead of deferring to the Supreme Court as he said he should just a week earlier.
Judge Watson’s ill considered ruling vastly expanded the number refugees and visitors from the six suspect countries targeted in President Donald J. Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States and the President’s March 6, 2017-revised version of the order, which narrowed the scope of his original order, that would be allowed into the country.
The Associated Press reports that in the appeal the Justice Department said Watson’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on what family relationships qualify refugees and visitors from the six suspect countries to enter the U.S. “empties the [Supreme] court’s decision of meaning, as it encompasses not just ‘close’ family members, but virtually all family members. Treating all of these relationships as ‘close familial relationship(s)’ reads the term ‘close’ out of the [Supreme] Court’s decision.”
The Justice Department also argues that only the Supreme Court can decide these issues concerning President Trump’s executive orders:
Only this Court can definitively settle whether the government’s reasonable implementation is consistent with this Court’s stay.
The administration filed the notice of appeal at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, allowing it to use a rule to petition the Supreme Court directly.
You can read the Justice Department’s Supreme Court filing here.