Supreme Court dismisses one of two travel ban cases

By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

(CNN) -- The US Supreme Court dismissed one of two challenges to President Donald Trump's travel ban Tuesday night, increasing the possibility that the justices will not hear a challenge to the President's March executive order this term.

First, the court dismissed a Maryland case in which a district court had temporarily blocked a key provision of the March order that halted travel from six Muslim-majority countries. In a one-page order, the justices sent the case back to the lower courts and ordered that the lower court's opinion be wiped from the books.

The justices noted that the provision of the travel ban had expired and that the case no longer presents "a live case or controversy." The court said it expressed "no views on the merits" of the case.

The court did not act, however, on a separate and broader injunction in a related case brought by the state of Hawaii. That case dealt not only with a ban on travel from six Muslim majority countries, but also a ban on refugees.

The court's move to split up the two cases comes after the six-nation travel ban has expired. The refugee ban, however, has not -- it expires on October 24.

The decision means that Hawaii's case -- which dealt with both travelers and refugee admissions -- remains alive, at least for the moment. The justices will most likely only turn to that case after October 24, when the refugee provision of the March executive order also expires.

"Today's order sends a strong signal that as soon as the refugee ban expires, the court will dismiss that as well," said CNN legal analyst and professor at the University of Texas Law School Steve Vladeck.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote separately from the court to add that she would have dismissed the case, but allowed the lower court ruling to remain on the books.

Trump's Justice Department has argued that both cases should be dismissed, as new travel restrictions announced by the administration are set to go into effect on October 18.

Legal challengers have already gone to court to ask for a ruling on those new restrictions, which were announced last month.


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