Like grinning pumpkins left too long in the rain, the president’s first two travel bans are collapsing into a soggy mess.

That collapse is being portrayed as a victory for the administration, but it is not. The ban and the government’s inept efforts to defend it have permanently damaged this administration’s legal credibility.

In a brief order this week, the Supreme Court vacated a decision from the Fourth Circuit that struck down the ban on immigrant and non-immigrant admissions, leaving nothing for it to decide. A provision of President Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending entry had “expired by its own terms” on September 24, the announcement said. Thus, the case challenging it, filed in Maryland, is “moot”—meaning time has passed it by. Under an existing Court practice, the justices left the previous district- and circuit-court decisions, and the injunction, devoid of legal force.

Still “live,” for the moment, is the case coming to the Court from Hawaii, which in part contests a provision in the ban barring the entry of refugees. A Hawaii court had blocked that part of Trump’s executive order; the Fourth Circuit had not. But because the refugee ban will expire this month—the refugee quota, by statute, resets every October 1—it seems likely the justices will toss this case as well.

That would end the challenges to the first and second iterations of Trump’s travel ban. (The second version was issued on March 6 after courts rejected the original.) A case against the third and latest version, issued September 24, remains, for the moment, alive in a court in Hawaii.

That ban may prove much harder to challenge than the first two. In fact, the whimpering fate of the first two travel bans may say less about the resilience of the American legal system than about the incompetence of …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

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