US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday put a temporarily hold on limits imposed by a lower court on President Donald Trump’s order barring most refugees from entering the United States.
Kennedy acted in response to the U.S. Justice Department’s challenge to a Thursday ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that would let refugees from around the world enter the country if they had a formal offer from a resettlement agency.
Without Kennedy’s intervention, the appeals court decision would have gone into effect on Tuesday. Kennedy’s temporary action gives the full Supreme Court time to consider the merits of the Trump administration’s emergency request, likely in the coming days. Kennedy asked refugee ban challengers to file a response by noon on Tuesday.
Trump’s sweeping March 6 executive order also barred travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. The administration decided not to ask the justices to put on hold a separate part of the lower court ruling that exempted grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of legal U.S. residents from Trump’s six-nation travel ban.
In court papers filed earlier on Monday, the Justice Department said the 9th Circuit decision on the refugee ban “will disrupt the status quo and frustrate orderly implementation of the order’s refugee provisions.” Up to 24,000 additional refugees would become eligible to enter the United States than otherwise would be allowed, according to the administration.
The Justice Department’s filing marked the latest twist in the ongoing legal fight over Trump’s executive order that barred travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, a move Trump argued was needed to prevent terrorist attacks. The order included a 120-day ban on refugees.