Hawaii said Tuesday that the Trump administration's request for the Supreme Court to grant emergency relief in the travel ban litigation is "nonsense."
President Trump's attorneys asked the Supreme Court last week to clarify the scope of the travel ban it permitted to go forward before the litigation hits the Supreme Court in the coming term, following lower court rulings in the 9th Circuit. Attorneys opposing Trump's ban had until noon Tuesday to respond.
"The government asks this court for emergency relief that is procedurally improper and substantively unnecessary," wrote Hawaii's attorneys. "It seeks to leapfrog its own pending motion and appeal in the Ninth Circuit and obtain an expansion of the stay this court issued just three weeks ago. And it contends this extraordinary relief is appropriate because the District Court's recent modification order has 'eviscerated' this court's stay. That is nonsense."
The battle over the scope of the piece of the travel ban that the Supreme Court allowed to go into effect may prove to be the biggest battle over the ban, which seeks to thwart the entrance of all nationals from six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
In agreeing to hear arguments over the travel ban litigation, the high court lifted lower courts' blockades of the ban and allowed into the U.S. only nationals from those countries who had a "bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."
The Trump administration sought to block fiances, grandparents, grandchildren, and other relatives from entering the country following the Supreme Court's order. The Trump administration changed that on Monday and allowed grandparents and other relatives from the six nations to become eligible for admission to the U.S.
Hawaii and other opponents of Trump's ban have pursued additional litigation in lower courts to clarify the scope of the Supreme Court's order, which prompted the Justice Department to rush back to the Supreme Court late last week.
Whether the high court will ever actually hear oral arguments over the travel ban litigation remains a topic of debate among legal experts.