The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to drop an upcoming case concerning President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban.
The request was submitted Thursday, meeting fierce opposition from several states as well as immigration advocacy groups. Opponents of the travel ban asked the Supreme Court to reschedule the case, or at least uphold the earlier rulings issued by the lower courts.
According to USA Today, the Supreme Court could discard the case in the upcoming days.
Speculation has long persisted that the Supreme Court may opt to gloss over the travel ban, considering the ramifications of any decision – analysts opined in September that the justices may not want to wade into a political fray or weigh on in a matter that could interfere with the president’s executive authority on immigration.
The ban on immigration and the issuance of visas to six Muslim-majority countries expired near the end of September, while a blanket restriction on the admission of refugees to the United States will expire in three weeks.
In the meantime, the Trump administration has published new travel restrictions, which affect the residents of eight Muslim-majority nations.
The president’s latest endeavor added Venezuela and North Korea to the list of nations from which immigration is either completely curtailed or restricted. Some critics have suggested the move may have been a political ploy – the United States receives virtually no North Korean immigrants, while many of the new rules for Venezuelans only affect individuals who are already sanctioned by the government.
As such, the revision and inclusion of two non-Muslim-majority nations could be a ploy to protect the president from accusations of overt bias against Muslim migrants.
USA Today says that, unlike the initial ban, the new one makes certain concessions. It treats different categories of visas – tourists and students, for instance – differently than others.
Considering that many of Trump’s original travel ban restrictions have expired or soon will, the Supreme Court canceled the opening oral arguments on the case, which were due to be held next Tuesday.
In its letter to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department wrote that the new ban is “based on detailing findings regarding the national security interests of the United States that were reached after a thorough, worldwide review and extensive consultation.”
Opponents of the ban have recommended that the case go forward, since many of those who were adversely affected by the first rendition of the executive order are still affected by the latest.
The American Civil Liberties Union said that an argument against anti-Muslim discrimination can still be made “despite some new window dressing” in the form of enhanced restrictions on migration from North Korea and Venezuela.