June 20, 2017 / 5:30 PM / 2 months ago

Travel ban challengers urge U.S. top court to reject Trump appeal

U.S. President Donald Trump concludes remarks to reporters during his meeting with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 20, 2017.Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Opponents of President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries again urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to reject his bid to revive it, saying his administration undermined its own arguments by amending the order last week.

In court papers filed with the justices, lawyers for the state of Hawaii and individual plaintiffs in Maryland made note of a June 14 memo by the administration amending the executive order to let the government conduct an internal review of vetting procedures for people entering the country.

The order signed by Trump on March 6 called for a 90-day ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the United States to give the government time to implement stronger vetting procedures.

"This memorandum conclusively severs the already tenuous relationship between the bans and their ostensible rationale by making it clear that the order's travel and refugee restrictions may begin after the vetting reviews are complete," Hawaii's lawyer, Neal Katyal, wrote.

The administration has appealed lower court rulings blocking the travel ban to the Supreme Court and made an emergency request that the justices put the order into effect immediately while the legal battle over its legality continues. A decision by the justices on whether to take up the case and grant the emergency request could come as soon as this week.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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