Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, July 6, 2017
A federal judge delivered President Trump yet another legal victory on his travel ban executive order late Thursday, allowing to remain in effect the White House’s revised rules that cast a fairly narrow screen on who will be admitted as refugees or from six targeted countries.
Judge Derrick K. Watson said the state of Hawaii and other immigrant rights groups challenging Mr. Trump should take their beef up with the Supreme Court since it was the justices’ vague ruling that has led to confusion.
“This court will not upset the Supreme Court’s careful balancing,” Judge Watson wrote.
In a June 26 ruling, the justices agreed to let much of Mr. Trump’s extreme vetting policy go into effect, canceling an earlier injunction Judge Watson and other federal judges had imposed.
The justices, in a 9-0 ruling, said that for would-be visitors without a connection to the U.S. — either a close relative or a job offer or participation in a school program, for example — Mr. Trump could exclude them. For those with close relationships, however, the justices said the relatives or entities in the U.S. had rights that must be weighed, and for now those rights trump the president’s security concerns.
The Supreme Court has planned full arguments for October.
Homeland Security said it looked to federal immigration law and previous court rulings and concluded that parents, siblings and spouses were close relationships, but others — including grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles and even couples engaged to be married — did not qualify.
Hawaii Attorney General Douglas S. Chin had argued that in his state, close family relationships had a much broader meaning that needed to be protected.
Judge Watson said he’d be happy to interpret his own orders, but since the standard in this case was set by the Supreme Court, it’s up to the justices to say what they meant.