The Supreme Court on Monday dropped the dispute over President Trump's travel ban from its oral argument calendar.
The high court directed attorneys for both sides to submit 10-page briefs on whether they view the case as moot by noon on Oct. 5. Both sides must address whether the expiration of Trump's travel ban order on Sunday rendered the case moot and whether the new order from the president renders the existing litigation moot.
If the Supreme Court finds that the litigation over the travel ban is moot, then disputes over Trump's new order targeting eight countries would arrive in district courts and likely make their way back up to the high court. Whether the Trump administration views the pending litigation as moot remains to be determined in the upcoming brief, but it could advocate for oral arguments in the coming term rather than prolong the case. Some of Trump's critics have argued that the order has already become moot due to the modified order's expiration date of Sept. 24.
Determining which side will emerge victorious if the Supreme Court renders the case moot will depend on how the justices issue any decision, including whether they choose to vacate lower courts' rulings on the ban. Some conservatives in the legal community will mark mootness as a victory for Trump, including Carrie Severino, Judicial Crisis Network's chief counsel and policy director.
"I don't think there's a lot of downside for [Trump administration] for it to be moot," Severino said Friday. "Practically speaking, when we had the order in June that allowed the order to go into effect, I think the Trump administration won that day because ... what they were really asking for is, ‘Let us carry on this analysis of the safety of these different countries, let us carry out the order.' They will have gotten the opportunity to do that."