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State v. Trump

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 6, 2017

STATE OF HAWAI‘I and ISMAIL ELSHIKH, Plaintiffs,
v.
DONALD J. TRUMP, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' EMERGENCY MOTION TO CLARIFY SCOPE OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

         On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in this matter, granted in part the Government's stay application, “and narrow[ed] the scope of the injunction[]” entered by this Court with respect to Sections 2(c), 6(a), and 6(b) of Executive Order 13, 780.[1] Trump v. Int'l Refugee Assistance Project, Nos. 16-1436 and 16-1540, slip op. at 11-12 (June 26, 2017) [hereinafter Slip. Op.] (per curiam). Plaintiffs State of Hawai‘i and Ismail Elshikh, Ph.D. seek clarification from this Court regarding the Supreme Court's modification of the preliminary injunction, in light of the manner in which the Government began implementing the non-enjoined portions of EO-2 on June 29, 2017. See Pls.' Emergency Mot. to Clarify Scope of Prelim. Inj., ECF No. 293 [hereinafter Motion]; see also Pls.' Proposed Order Granting Mot., ECF No. 315-1 (reflecting consideration of “the preliminary injunction entered on March 29, 2017 (Dkt. No. 270), amended on June [1]9, 2017 (Dkt. No. 291), and modified by subsequent decision of the United States Supreme Court”).

         Upon careful consideration of the parties' submissions, 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 in its June 26, 2017 per curiam decision. That is, the parties' disagreements derive neither from this Court's temporary restraining order, this Court's preliminary injunction, nor this Court's amended preliminary injunction, [2] but from the modifications to this Court's injunction ordered by the Supreme Court. Accordingly, the clarification to the modifications that the parties seek should be more appropriately sought in the Supreme Court.[3]

         The Supreme Court stayed the preliminary injunction with respect to Section 2(c) in the following manner-

The injunctions remain in place only with respect to parties similarly situated to Doe, Dr. Elshikh, and Hawaii. In practical terms, this means that § 2(c) may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of EO-2.

Slip Op. at 12.[4]

         In evaluating the Government's application for a stay, the Supreme Court observed that, “[i]n assessing the lower courts' exercise of equitable discretion, we bring to bear an equitable judgment of our own.” Slip Op. at 10 (citing Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 433 (2009)). The Supreme Court's equitable judgment to “tailor a stay, ” id., resulted in modifications to this Court's preliminary injunction. These modifications spurred the Government's subsequent efforts to interpret the stay and implement the non-enjoined portions of EO-2 by June 29, 2017. Plaintiffs' Motion challenges only the Government's interpretation of the Supreme Court's June 26, 2017 stay. To be clear, the standard Plaintiffs ask this Court to clarify-i.e., “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, ” Slip Op. at 12-is not set forth in any order of this Court.[5]

         Because Plaintiffs seek clarification of the June 26, 2017 injunction modifications authored by the Supreme Court, clarification should be sought there, not here. This Court will not upset the Supreme Court's careful balancing and “equitable judgment” brought to bear when “tailor[ing] a stay” in this matter. Slip Op. at 10. Nor would this district court presume to substitute its own understanding of the stay for that of the originating Court's “exercise of discretion and judgment” in “[c]rafting a preliminary injunction . . . dependent as much on the equities of a given case as the substance of the legal issues it presents.” Slip Op. at 9. This Court declines to usurp the prerogative of the Supreme Court to interpret its own order and defers in the first instance. See Ala. Nursing Home Ass'n v. Harris, 617 F.2d 385, 388 (5th Cir. 1980) (“Great deference is due the interpretation placed on the terms of an injunctive order by the court who issued and must enforce it.”); cf. Alley v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 590 F.3d 1195, 1202 (11th Cir. 2009) (“The district court is in the best position to interpret its own orders.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).[6]

         CONCLUSION

         For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs' request for clarification is DENIED without prejudice to its re-filing with the Supreme Court.[7]

IT IS SO ORDERED.

---------

Notes:

[1] Executive Order 13, 780 is entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, ” 82 Fed. Reg. 13209 (Mar. 6, 2017) [hereinafter EO-2].

[2] See Hawaii v. Trump, --- F.Supp.3d ---, 2017 WL 1011673 (D. Haw. Mar. 15, 2017) (TRO); Hawaii v. Trump, --- F.Supp.3d ---, 2017 WL 1167383 (D. Haw. Mar. 29, 2017) (Prelim. Inj.); Am. Prelim. Inj., Hawaii v. Trump, CV. NO. 17-00050 ...


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