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Though commentators were just starting to posit that the Azar v. Garza matter was doomed in SCOTUS conference limbo, this week, the Justices issued a unanimous decision. And if you feel like this decision was unexpected, well, you're not alone, as the High Court never heard an oral argument.

The case involved an undocumented teen who needed a court order in order to be allowed to get an abortion. And since the abortion actually happened promptly after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it could, SCOTUS ruled that the case was now moot. As to the sanctions the government sought against the lawyer who they claimed misled the government as to the date of the abortion procedure, SCOTUS was not convinced.

While it has long been a practice of the United States to deport non-citizens who commit a violent felony, what qualifies as a crime of "violence" has been a moving target. As the High Court's opinion in Session v. Dimaya explained, the federal statute requiring deportation defines violent crime in a way that is unconstitutionally vague.

The defendant in the deportation action, James Garcia Dimaya, was convicted of burglary in California. As the majority notes, in some courts, this is considered a violent crime, while in others it is not. Dimaya argued successfully to a lower court that the law was unconstitutionally broad, as his crime resulted in no injuries to his victims. And while Justice Kagan penned the ruling, interestingly, it was Justice Gorsuch's concurring opinion that swung the decision in Dimaya's favor.

Detained Immigrants Not Entitled to Periodic Bond Hearings

It's not easy to write a short headline for a legal decision that takes judges 91 pages to explain.

So it's understandable when major news agencies miss the point, like reports of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Jennings v. Rodriguez. The New York Times said "No Bail Hearings for Detained Immigrants," but the High Court technically said they do not have a right to periodic bond hearings.

A poet might say, "What's in a word?" In this case, the judges had a problem defining the word "detained."

The message from the SCOTUS to the POTUS was direct and clear in the short rejection issued Monday morning: No shortcuts.

The administration, not pleased by the federal district court injunction, had attempted to bypass the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by appealing directly to the High Court. However, SCOTUS did not find the appeal to be worth taking up before the Ninth Circuit had a chance to render a decision. Interestingly, the Court did make a peculiar comment after the rejection: "It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case."

In what may come as a surprise to many, the third travel ban issued via executive order has been temporarily cleared by SCOTUS in a pair of unexpected Monday morning orders. And, if your head is spinning at this point, wondering how in the world that happened, don't worry, you weren't meant to see this one coming.

In an emergency appeal filed by the DOJ days before Thanksgiving, it asked the High Court to stay the preliminary injunctions issued by the district courts in Hawaii and Maryland. While opponents of the ban did their best to fight it, SCOTUS ruled that the preliminary injunctions should be lifted pending the resolution of the Fourth and Ninth Circuit appeals. Also, as you might have expected, Justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor dissented and would have denied the requested stay.

Second Travel Ban Challenge Dismissed

Donald Trump got out of thousands of lawsuits as a businessman, and as president he has escaped another one.

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed as moot a second travel ban case, which had challenged the President's first revision of his executive order against mostly Muslim nations. That ban has expired and been replaced by another version.

The decision capped an earlier battle with a federal judge, but the same judge has issued an injunction against the President's third ban. Sooner or later, either President Trump or Judge Derrick Watson will be out of options.

This week, SCOTUS issued an order in one of the two hotly contested and widely watched travel ban cases under review. The High Court ordered that the Fourth Circuit judgment upholding the district court's injunction be vacated, and that the matter be remanded back to the Fourth Circuit with instructions to dismiss the challenge as moot.

For those keeping a close eye on the controversial travel bans, the case that was ordered dismissed was the Trump v. International Refugee Assistance case. This case challenged the second travel ban, enacted on March 6, 2017, Executive Order 13,780, which attempted to cure the deficiencies pointed out by the court in the first travel ban, Executive Order 13,769.

The latest development in the travel ban executive order cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court involves the letter briefs submitted to the Court pursuant to September 25th order. When the Court took the case off calendar, it also issued a request to the parties for briefing on the issue of mootness in light of the most recent executive order travel ban.

Clearly, the Trump administration urged the High Court to vacate the lower courts' rulings on the grounds of mootness. The opponents of the travel ban explain that the case has not been rendered moot by the latest iteration of the travel ban. No surprises there.

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, SCOTUS denied President Trump's lawyers' motion seeking clarification of the Court's recent order lifting the injunction that stopped the controversial travel ban from being enforced. The Court issued a short, two-paragraph, three-sentence, order denying the motion, primarily explaining that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals needs to rule before the High Court will rule again on this issue.

Curiously, the second paragraph to the order is a single sentence that states: "Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, and Justice Gorsuch would have stayed the District Court order in its entirety."

Travel Ban Approved Against Some With No 'Bona Fide' Ties to U.S.

Reversing two appellate courts, the U.S. Supreme Court approved part of the President's travel ban against nationals from six Muslim nations and refugees.

The court said the President's executive order may be enforced against those people who have no bode fide connections in the United States. Those who already have families, work, or school in the county may continue to enter pending a hearing next session in Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project.