United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' EMERGENCY MOTION TO
CLARIFY SCOPE OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
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,
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 9, 2017
(Dkt. No. 291), and modified by subsequent decision of the
United States Supreme Court”).
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,  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 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.
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.
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
foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs' request for clarification
is DENIED without prejudice to its re-filing with the Supreme
IT IS SO ORDERED.
 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].
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 ...