The Supreme Court declined the Justice Department's request for clarification on what "bona fide relationship" means in their order on President Trump's travel ban on June 26, but blocked a judge's move to allow in refugees who are working with resettlement agencies.
In an order Wednesday, the court also lifted a portion of the lower court ruling against the Trump administration regarding the scope of the ban "with respect to refugees covered by a formal assurance" pending additional review by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That order blocks an order that could have allowed thousands more refugees to enter the country while the ban is in place.
The Supreme Court declined Wednesday the Justice Department's request for clarification on what "bona fide relationship" means in their order on June 26. The request for clarification was made after a lower court judge's order that made the term so broad that it could allow in refugees who have any relatives in the U.S., the administration argued.
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson initially ruled he did not have the ability to expand what relationships constitute a "bona fide relationship" in the United States, but Hawaii appealed that decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court then ruled Watson did have that ability and sent the case back to him.
Watson subsequently expanded the definition of "bona fide relationship" to include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, or siblings-in-law.
As a part of that second order, he also ruled refugees who had been given assurances that they would be placed in the United States would be exempt from the travel ban. That order was blocked by the Supreme Court while an appeal from the government is heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
However, the State Department itself has expanded the definition of "bona fide relationship" to include those relations in the meantime.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch would have lifted the federal district court's restrictions on the Trump travel ban in their entirety.
Trump's ban, which is set to arrive in oral arguments before the Supreme Court next term, seeks to block foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from entering the U.S.