This week, the United States Supreme Court plans to conduct an initial review of President Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0, which has been blocked from taking effect due to the federal court cases in Maryland and Hawaii.
Judges in those cases issued nationwide injunctions preventing implementation of sections 2(c) and 6 of the Ban, which barred travel from the six designated countries and suspended refugee processing. The federal government has appealed those cases. The Fourth and Ninth Circuits have both upheld the injunctions. At this point the federal government has filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court, meaning they have asked the Court to hear one or both cases. This week the US Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the cases and also whether to grant or deny a stay of the current injunctions (meaning the ban would go back into effect).
There are five possible outcomes:
1 The court could not come to any decision about what to do with the cases, and agree to look at them again during their next conference…in October. This would keep the travel ban on hold at least until then.
2. The court could decide that it doesn’t want to take up the travel-ban cases at all.
3. The court could allow the travel ban to go into effect over the summer and consider the case in the fall. This is what the Trump administration is asking the justices to do — it wants them to stop the injunctions issued by the lower courts from being in effect until the Supreme Court has had a chance to rule on whether to uphold them.
4. The court could agree to take the cases up when it reconvenes in the fall. This is the most traditional option: the Supreme Court could grant certiorari in the travel-ban cases, and set a schedule for oral argument after its next term begins in October, just like it would do for any other case granted cert at the end of the term. But unless the Supreme Court explicitly says otherwise (a la the previous option), the travel ban will remain on hold until the Supreme Court has heard the oral arguments and ruled on the injunction sometime after October 1st.
5. The court could delay its summer recess to hear the travel-ban case. If the Supreme Court actually wants to resolve this case quickly, there are only 2 ways to do it: stay out of the case entirely (by denying certiorari) or agree to delay their summer break until the case is resolved. This has happened before, especially in cases involving national security, high-profile policy fights, or both (the travel ban certainly fits both categories).
Until we know for sure what the Supreme Court plans to do with the current injunctions, we are encouraging Muslims (who are nationals of the six designated countries, and who do not have US citizenship or a green card) NOT to travel outside the country unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even if the Muslim Ban is reinstated, it should not, in theory, have an impact on green card holders and others with valid immigration status. In practice, however, even those who are not citizens of the six targeted countries may experience travel difficulties as a result of the Muslim Ban. This would be especially true for those who may be overseas during the chaotic and confusing hours after the Ban takes effect.
We will send another alert when the Supreme Court announces what it plans to do. Regardless of whether or not the ban is reinstated, there have been reports of more Muslim travelers being questioned about their personal religious and political beliefs and Muslim travelers experiencing harassment by CBP during secondary screening. If you experience discriminatory treatment at the airport, including improper questioning about your faith, make sure to file an online incident report or call us at 614-451-3232. If you are traveling overseas any time soon, please make sure to review our international travel tips.