The U.S. Supreme Court dropped one of two cases over President Donald Trump’s travel ban, suggesting it will sidestep a constitutional showdown and let lower courts take the first look at the latest version of the policy.
Granting a Trump administration request Tuesday, the justices dismissed an appeal over a provision that expired last month in an earlier version of the travel ban. The remaining appeal, which also involves refugee limits that are still in effect, may meet the same fate later this month when those restrictions expire Oct. 24.
The five-sentence order said the justices “express no view on the merits” of the dispute. Even before the high court acted, the focus of the clash was already shifting to federal trial courts around the country, where opponents are taking steps to press new challenges. The issue is almost certain to return to the Supreme Court in some form.
The high court had already canceled the travel-ban argument it had scheduled for Tuesday.
The Supreme Court also set aside a federal appeals court ruling that blocked the earlier policy and might have served as a helpful precedent for the new challenges. That’s a victory for the Trump administration, which urged the court to take that step. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from that part of the order.
The case the court dropped Tuesday was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in Maryland. The remaining case is being pressed by Hawaii.
Both groups of challengers say Trump is exceeding his authority under federal immigration laws and violating the Constitution by targeting Muslims. The opponents had asked the Supreme Court to keep the case and issue a ruling.
The revised policy, issued Sept. 24, limits or bans entry into the U.S. from eight countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea and Venezuela. It supersedes a ban that had affected six mostly Muslim countries.
The case dismissed Tuesday is Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, 16-1436. The other case is Trump v. Hawaii, 16-1540.
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