Attorney General Jeff Sessions mounted a challenge against U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson’s July 13 ruling by going directly to the Supreme Court on Friday, asking the nation’s highest court to overturn Watson’s attempt to undermine President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
Last month, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of Trump’s Executive Order 13780, which imposed a temporary ban on residents living in six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Watson put a damper on the president’s Supreme Court victory by widening the scope of people from those countries who could sidestep the ban.
Acting Solicitor General Ken Wall pushed back against Watson by filing a motion that asked the Supreme Court to clarify who qualifies as a close family member. If the Court is not willing to make that clarification, Wall’s motion requested, then it should at least stay Watson’s ruling until the Department of Justice’s appeal can go through.
“The district court’s interpretation of this Court’s June 26, 2017, stay ruling distorts this Court’s decision and upends the equitable balance this Court struck,” the DOJ said, pointing out numerous flaws with Watson’s ruling.
According to the DOJ, the district court’s decision to make certain refugees immune to the effects of the travel ban “effectively eviscerates this Court’s ruling partially staying the injunction as to Sections 6(a) and 6(b),” the motion read.
Wall also argued that “the district court’s sweeping interpretation of ‘close familial relationship’ to encompass a wide range of distant relatives — including cousins, uncles, and siblings-in-law — effectively eliminates the ‘close’ requirement and has no basis in this Court’s ruling or the INA,” the DOJ continued.”
The Supreme Court will ultimately offer a final response to the DOJ’s motion, which will be followed by the department’s appeal of Watson’s July 13 injunction being decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.