WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a one-page order, the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 10 dismissed an appeal in one of the legal challenges of President Donald Trump’s now-expired travel ban.
The Trump administration had asked the court to drop the case after Trump signed a new expanded version of the travel prohibitions in late September. Release of the new version effectively made the appeal moot, ruled the justices, who also said, “We express no views on the merits.”
The case came from U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, one of two federal appeals courts that had struck down major portions of Trump’s travel ban. The case began with a federal court in Maryland, which is covered by the 4th Circuit.
Hours before part of a version of the Trump administration’s travel ban of six majority-Muslim countries was set to expire, officials rolled out the new version late Sept. 24. The new ban now includes travel prohibitions for some Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family, as well as nationals from North Korea and the Central African country of Chad. Officials say the new restrictions go into place Oct. 18.
With the addition of North Korea and Venezuela, some say the administration is hoping to avoid previous charges that it is targeting Muslims from entering the country, which the president had told his supporters he would do while campaigning.
On Sept. 25, the Supreme Court canceled an upcoming hearing on the constitutionality of Trump’s travel ban because of the new expanded version of the travel prohibitions. The court was set to hear arguments Oct. 10, but said in a statement that “the cases are removed from the oral argument calendar, pending further order of the court.”
A friend of the court brief filed on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in mid-September said the travel ban was “cruel and inhumane treatment” and that “denying refugee children life-saving entry to the United States based on an executive order clearly motivated by anti-religious bias, is both un-Catholic and un-American.”
It continued: “Such blatant religious discrimination is repugnant to the Catholic faith, core American values and the United States Constitution.”
Trump administration officials told reporters from various news organizations that “the restrictions either previously or now were never, ever, ever based on race, religion or creed,” shortly after the latest version of the ban was rolled out. They said the governments of the countries listed were “simply not compliant with our basic security requirements.”
A separate case before the Supreme Court challenging the earlier ban is from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. That case originated at a federal court in Hawaii, which is in that circuit court’s jurisdiction.
A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based court unanimously ruled that the administration’s revised travel ban affecting people from six primarily Muslim-majority countries was too strict. The case is still pending because it involves a ban on refugees worldwide that does not expire until later in October.