The U.S. Supreme Court last month let the ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries go forward with a limited scope, saying it could not apply to anyone with a credible "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity.
The state this morning filed a motion with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the scope of the travel and refugee bans after U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson on Thursday declined to grant Hawaii's motion for clarification. The District Court judge refused to consider the request to "clarify" his prior injunction, telling the parties to go to the Supreme Court if they want a to interpret the Supreme Court's Order.
The executive order banning travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees went back into effect June 29 after SCOTUS carved out exceptions for those with a "bona fide" relationship to USA citizens or organizations.
"If the plaintiffs elect to proceed, we are confident that the US Supreme Court will again vindicate the president and his constitutional duty to protect the national security of the United States, " the department said.
Lawyers for Hawaii immediately challenged the government's interpretation arguing that it violated "the Supreme Court's instruction" in part because it excluded a host of people "with a close familial relationship" to United States persons including grandparents.
The state of Hawaii asked a federal appeals court on Friday to issue an emergency order blocking parts of President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban while the state seeks clarification over what groups of people would be barred from travel. The federal government issued guidelines defining "bona fide" in a way that still banned grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Watson said there was "significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus" behind the ban, which prevents new visas for people from the six countries and suspends the nation's refugee program.
Senior administration officials said they consulted the Supreme Court's decision as well as the definition of "family" laid out by the Immigration and Nationality Act to determine whom to consider close family. According to Judge Watson, a district court should defer to the Supreme Court's "exercise of discretion and judgment" in fashioning a stay. For individuals, a close family relationship is required: A spouse or a mother-in-law would be permitted.
The U.S. State Department initially said fianceés/fiancés did not count as a "bona fide relationship".
The Trump administration indicated it was celebrating another court win after a series of losses over the travel ban.