The Justice Department's high court filing Monday follows an appeals court ruling last week that would allow refugees to enter the United States if a resettlement agency in the USA had agreed to take them in.
In his filing, acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall said DOJ was only asking for a stay for the lower court ruling as it applies to the refugees.
A ruling of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals pushed Trump on the back foot of travel ban on those refugees that have formal assurances from settlement agencies from entering the US. The Justice Department said it disagreed with that interpretation, but noted the U.S. Supreme Court had refused to disturb that finding pending appeal. The Supreme Court ultimately decided that Trump could impose that measure, but not on those with a "bona fide" connection to the United States, such as having family members here, a job or a place in an American university.
In an emergency application filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, the Justice Department lobbed the latest salvo in an ongoing lawsuit that challenges a Trump-ordered 120-day ban on most refugees. Last week, the 9th Circuit said that grandparents are close relatives and therefore - according to an earlier Supreme Court order - may not be denied entry under the disputed travel ban.More news: Amazon on hunt for location to build a second North American headquarters
Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a brief order Monday that will keep the ruling on hold for the time being, at least until the ban's challengers submit written arguments by midday Tuesday and the full court has a chance to act.
The issue of the scope of the ban has been playing out in the lower courts, but the Supreme Court is set to hear the larger issues concerning the merits of the case on October 11.
Resettlement agencies argued that their commitment to provide services for specific refugees should count as a "bona fide" relationship.
The stay takes issue not with the familial relationship issue, but with the allowance of refugees, an immigration classification Trump's executive order initially temporarily halted. The Trump administration had fought for a more narrow definition, but the Ninth Circuit upheld that ruling as well.