The Supreme Court has taken two cases involving President Trump's controversial travel ban off its calendar, after the White House issued a revised and expanded ban. The justices ordered both sides to file new briefs over whether parts of the issue are now moot.
"The cases are removed from the oral argument calendar, pending further order of the Court," the justices wrote in an order issued Monday.
Parties in the two cases — Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project and Trump v. Hawaii — have until next Thursday, Oct. 5, to file their briefs.
Over the weekend, the Trump administration issued a new update to its travel ban, which had been poised to expire. While the initial executive orders had applied only to majority-Muslim countries, the new order also includes North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, bringing the number of countries under the ban to eight. The other six are Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia.
The Supreme Court had planned to hear arguments over the cases in October, deciding in June that parts of the president's revised travel ban should be in effect while the issue is pending.
As we reported at the time, "Trump's revised executive order was put on hold by lower court judges in Hawaii and Maryland in March, hours before it was set to take effect. Two federal appeals courts left those nationwide injunctions in place, setting up one final appeal for the Trump administration."
Iraq and Sudan, which had been included in earlier White House orders, were left out of the new ban that Trump signed on Sunday.
Explaining how the administration's new ban would work, NPR's Arnie Seipel says:
"The new restrictions on Chad and North Korea are a broad ban on nationals from those countries entering the States. For Venezuela, restrictions apply to government officials and their immediate family.
"These changes are set to take effect on Oct. 18, though the restrictions on Sudan will be lifted immediately, as a result of security baselines defined by the administration."
Challenges to the president's effort to impose a travel ban have called it a thinly veiled attempt to block Muslims from entering the country, something Trump and his advisers talked about during and after last year's presidential campaign.