The Supreme Court has dropped one of two challenges it was considering to President Trump’s travel ban policy, declaring moot a lawsuit over Trump’s attempt to block issuance of visas to citizens of six majority-Muslim countries. Politico reports that the justices’ move appeared to be an attempt to extricate themselves from pending litigation over the travel ban order that Trump issued in March, which was superseded by a new directive the president signed on Sept. 24.
However, any effort by the court to clear the decks of the travel ban issue is likely to be short-lived. At least four lawsuits have been filed or are being retooled to challenge the new Trump proclamation, which imposed a varied set of travel restrictions on nationals of eight countries, including five of those on the original list. One judge has scheduled a hearing for Monday on a request to block Trump’s new order before it kicks in next week. The Supreme Court’s action Tuesday night removed from its docket a Maryland case in which refugee resettlement groups argued that Trump’s order in March exceeded his legal authority and was prompted by unconstitutional bias against Muslims. The new order vacated a caustic ruling in which the chief judge of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared that Trump’s ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”