The Trump administration's lawyers have officially approached the Supreme Court to reinstate the president's earlier order to impose temporary travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries. The administration asked the justices to test the legality of the executive order, which was blocked by lower courts that called it as a discriminatory step.
President Donald Trump had introduced the order on 6 March barring entry for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, triggering protests across the US. However, the move was quickly shot down by two lower courts overturning Trump's order. Only on 25 May, the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the original verdict of Maryland judge's order blocking the travel restriction.
Late on Thursday (1 June), the administration appealed to the nine justices of country's highest court to pronounce a verdict on the divisive legal battle.
"We have asked the Supreme Court to hear this important case and are confident that President Trump's executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe and protect our communities from terrorism," Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.
Nearly all the lower courts have agreed Trump's travel ban was unconstitutional since it was tantamount to religious discrimination. The government, however, argues it is necessary for national security.
"The president is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk to the United States," said Isgur Flores.
The new appeal marks the first test of the Trump's administration at the US' highest court after a series of legal defeats at lower courts.
The government also argues the travel ban should be brought into immediate effect until the Supreme Court gives out its final decision. As the government has appealed for a quick justice in the case, the top court may look at the matter as an emergency.
The highly controversial travel ban – the first decision announced in January and the second revised presidential order issued two months later – caused chaos in several airports in the world and prompted protests both in the US and elsewhere.