What does third Trump travel ban mean for Supreme Court case?

A few days ago, Oct. 10 had been circled on calendars around the country – the day the Trump administration would make its first appearance before the US Supreme Court, to argue for the full enforcement of President Trump’s controversial “travel ban” executive order.

Monday afternoon, in a one-paragraph order, the justices kicked that can down the road. One of the longest, most contentious, and confusing subplots of Donald Trump’s presidency is now going to have to play a little – or perhaps a lot – longer.

With the Trump administration issuing a third version of the order Sunday, the argument that the case before the high court – which concerns the second iteration of the order – is now moot just became much stronger. If the justices decide that the case is moot, they would be able to resolve it without exploring the thorny statutory and constitutional questions it raises. Today’s order from the justices asks the parties involved to file briefs by Oct. 5 explaining whether, and to what extent, the case is now moot, while also removing it from their October calendar.

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Whatever happens 10 days from now, this issue is far from resolved. Here are some questions looking at how we got here, and where we could go next:

Q: What is the travel ban?

The ban at issue is the second version of an executive order regarding immigration. The first order, authored with limited input from federal immigration agencies and issued weeks after Trump took office, banned for 90 days entry for citizens from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, and banned the admission of all refugees for 120 days (or, for refugees from Syria, indefinitely). The Trump administration has cited national security interests as the justification for the order, but critics instead see it as a veiled effort to implement a “Muslim ban” he promised during his presidential campaign.

After mass protests and…

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