July 7 (UPI) -- A federal court judge declined to clarify the scope of the government's travel ban, telling Hawaiian plaintiffs to seek guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ruling Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson of the District of Hawaii will keep the portions of the travel ban, ordered by President Donald Trump, in place. It will likely generate additional court filings as Hawaii seeks to limit the order, The Washington Post said Friday.
In June the Supreme Court allowed parts of the travel ban, restricting entrance to the United States by visitors from selected Muslim-majority countries, to go into effect. The court approved a ban on foreign nationals without a "bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States."
The government then issued new guidelines stipulating that applicants must demonstrate a relationship with a parent, spouse, fiancée, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States in order to enter the country. Other identifiable relatives are excluded under the order. Lawyers for Hawaii challenged the government's interpretation, arguing that it violated "the Supreme Court's instruction" because it excluded people such as grandparents "with a close familial relationship." The lawyers asked Watson for a clarification.
The ruling means that the government can temporarily continue to block travel of foreign nationals if they are grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins or in-laws of people in the United States.
Watson's order indicated that he would not intervene with the Supreme Court ruling and that Hawaii must seek clarification from the high court.
"It is evident that the parties quarrel over the meaning and intent of words and phrases authored not by this Court, but by the Supreme Court. Accordingly, the clarification to the modifications that the parties seek should be more appropriately sought in the Supreme Court," he wrote.