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Trump's Immigration Losing Streak Continues with 9th Circuit Ruling

Late last month, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Maryland court’s injunction preventing version two of the Trump travel ban from taking effect. The Trump administration immediately began a push for review by the United States Supreme Court. Then, earlier this week, the 9th Circuit threw in a new twist.

It comes as no surprise that the 9th Circuit ruling continued the injunction earlier issued by a Hawai’i court. However, while the 4th Circuit ruling was based on Constitutional issues, the 9th Circuit ruling relied on immigration statutes. That means even a Supreme Court ruling on the 4th Circuit decision wouldn’t put an end to the battle.

What’s Next for the Travel Ban?

The U.S. Supreme Court must decide whether to hear argument and enter a ruling in the 4th Circuit case. If the high court takes up this issue, its ruling on the Constitutionality of the travel ban will control nationwide.

However, opponents of the ban are arguing that the Supreme Court should not hear the case, since the ban was only issued for 90 days and the 90 days expires this week. Those fighting the ban argue that when the 90-day ban expires, the controversial part of the order will have no effect, and thus there is nothing for the Court to decide. The Trump administration, however, is arguing that the 90-day period hasn’t started, since the Courts have prevented the ban from taking effect.

If the Court sides with opponents of the ban on this issue, there will be no Supreme Court review of the 4th Circuit ruling, and its order will stand.

Where Does the 9th Circuit Ruling Fit In?

The legality of the travel ban is complicated by the fact that the 4th Circuit and the 9thCircuit blocked the ban for different reasons. The 4th Circuit said the ban violated the Constitution, and that’s the issue the Supreme Court is deciding whether to review. But, the 9th Circuit ruling relied on U.S. immigration law, saying that Trump had exceeded the authority granted to the President by Congress.

If the Supreme Court rules against Trump, and decides not to hear the case, the travel ban will die—at least, the version set forth in the second order. If the ruling is in favor of the administration, the situation is a bit more complicated. If the Supreme Court overrules the 4th Circuit decision and lifts that injunction, the travel ban still won’t take effect. The 9th Circuit ruling will still block the travel ban, unless the Supreme Court also takes up that case and decides in favor of the Trump administration on the statutory issue as well.

If you’re getting confused, you’re not alone. Back in April, Trump himself railed against the wrong court in a series of Tweets.

It's unfortunate that with so many significant national and international issues in need of attention, the Trump administration has chosen to focus so much time, energy and money on this ban. Data does not show that the targeted countries pose any particular risk to the United States. In addition, the ban itself was only intended to last 90 days, to give the administration time to study risk and vetting processes. Those 90 days have now passed, and so the administration has had ample time to conduct that research, eliminating even the purported justification for the ban. Continuing to fight this issue is purely an ideological battle that is needlessly draining resources away from more critical issues in an apparent attempt to placate his political base by fulfilling a ridiculous campaign promise.

Fortunately, no court has ruled in Trump’s favor on any immigration issue to date, and we have reason to hope that trend will continue.