WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31:  U.S. President Donald Trump awaits the arrival of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the White House May 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. According to Phuc, the U.S. and Vietnam are working on new trade agreements after the Trump Administration withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 31: U.S. President Donald Trump awaits the arrival of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the White House May 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. According to Phuc, the U.S. and Vietnam are working on new trade agreements after the Trump Administration withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:02
Travel ban to head to Supreme Court
muslim ban jake tapper fact check orig nws_00002104.jpg
muslim ban jake tapper fact check orig nws_00002104.jpg
Now playing
03:45
Is travel ban a 'total and complete' Muslim ban?
trump travel ban
CNN
trump travel ban
Now playing
01:39
Trump reacts to travel ban ruling
Jeremy Moorhead/CNN
Now playing
02:19
Voices divided on travel ban ruling
travel ban trump then and now orig nws_00002328.jpg
travel ban trump then and now orig nws_00002328.jpg
Now playing
01:23
Trump's travel ban then and now
CNN
Now playing
01:53
The seven countries banned by Trump
CNN
Now playing
00:57
Toobin: This is Muslim ban dressed in a tutu
Now playing
01:42
Senator: Supreme Court abandoned responsibility
WASHINGTON - MARCH 08:  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy testifies before the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill March 8, 2007 in Washington, DC. Thomas and fellow Justice Clarence Thomas spoke about concerns with the ongoing remodeling of the court building, the reduction of paperwork due to electronic media and the disparity of pay between federal judges and lawyers working in the private sector.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON - MARCH 08: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy testifies before the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill March 8, 2007 in Washington, DC. Thomas and fellow Justice Clarence Thomas spoke about concerns with the ongoing remodeling of the court building, the reduction of paperwork due to electronic media and the disparity of pay between federal judges and lawyers working in the private sector. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:58
Justice Kennedy harshly critiques Trump
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: People wait in line to enter the U.S. Supreme Court, on April 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. Today the high court is hearing arguments in Chavez-Mesa v. US, which concerns a technical matter regarding sentencing guidelines. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be representing the government. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: People wait in line to enter the U.S. Supreme Court, on April 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. Today the high court is hearing arguments in Chavez-Mesa v. US, which concerns a technical matter regarding sentencing guidelines. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be representing the government. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:48
Supreme Court upholds Trump's travel ban
CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 25: Travelers with their baggage are seen in a check-in line September 25, 2006 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. The TSA announced today they have slightly relaxed the ban on carrying some liquids onto passenger flights to allow most toiletries and beverages bought after the security checkpoints.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Tim Boyle/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 25: Travelers with their baggage are seen in a check-in line September 25, 2006 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. The TSA announced today they have slightly relaxed the ban on carrying some liquids onto passenger flights to allow most toiletries and beverages bought after the security checkpoints. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:31
Trump's latest travel ban
Now playing
04:04
Listen as lawyers argue travel ban case
President Donald Trump smiles during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 12, 2017.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump smiles during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 12, 2017.
Now playing
02:36
Court cites Trump tweets in travel ban ruling
travel ban immigrant families althaibani
CNN, Family Photos
travel ban immigrant families althaibani
Now playing
02:29
Families in limbo over Trump's travel ban
Now playing
01:14
Jeff Sessions: Travel ban protects Americans
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01:  U.S. President Donald Trump announces his decision for the United States to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the accord, which former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 other countries signed in 2015. The agreement is intended to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit global warming to a manageable level.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. President Donald Trump announces his decision for the United States to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the accord, which former President Barack Obama and the leaders of 194 other countries signed in 2015. The agreement is intended to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit global warming to a manageable level. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:30
Trump pushes travel ban in tweetstorm

Story highlights

Travel ban has not gone into effect

Would block entry from six Muslim-majority countries

Washington CNN —  

The Trump administration Thursday night asked the Supreme Court to allow the President’s travel ban that blocks entry from six Muslim-majority countries to go into effect.

In its filings, the administration asked the nine justices to consider the legality of President Donald Trump’s executive order, a move that appeals a ruling by the 4th Circuit that upheld a nationwide halt to the ban.

The case marks the President’s first test of his travel ban in the nation’s highest court after multiple stinging rebukes of his national security justifications for the ban in the lower federal courts.

Last month, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals largely affirmed a federal judge’s decision from March, which found the core provision of the revised executive order – temporarily blocking foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US – likely violates the Constitution because its primary purpose was to disfavor Muslims.

The 4th Circuit held that the executive order is composed of “vague words of national security” but in context “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”

Thursday night’s petition will be referred to the full court and the justices will likely ask for a response from the challengers.

With the arrival of Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, the court is back to full strength with five conservatives and four liberals. But it is not certain that the justices would break down along ideological lines. The travel ban touches not just on immigration, but it involves issues such as the authority of the executive and the issue of religious freedom.

“The Constitution and Acts of Congress confer on the President broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens outside the United States when he deems it in the Nation’s interest, ” wrote Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall.

He said that while the executive order has been the subject of “passionate political debate,” the lower court opinion “failed to adhere to foundational legal rules.”

“The President is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism, until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk to the United States,” said Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores.

The ACLU, one of the challengers to the travel ban, tweeted “We’ve beat this hateful ban and are ready to do it again, @realDonaldTrump.”

The administration argues the travel ban should be allowed to go into effect now while the court looks at the ultimate legality of Trump’s executive order later this year, said CNN legal analyst and professor at the University of Texas Law School Steve Vladeck.

“It’s an interesting procedural move, but the fact that it’s taken this long may undermine, at least to some extent, the Trump administration’s core argument that the entry ban, which has never gone into full effect, is essential to protect our national security,” Vladeck said.

“Thus, while it seems likely that the court will eventually hear the government’s challenge, the real question now is what happens in the interim,” Vladeck added. “Are there five votes to grant a stay and allow the ban to go into effect, or will everything remain frozen until the court has the last word.”

It would take five justices to agree to the stay application. According to Supreme Court rules, the justices would consider whether there is a “reasonable probability” that four of the justices would eventually agree to hear the case and a “fair prospect” that a majority of the court will hold that the opinion below was erroneous. They would also consider whether” irreparable harm” will result from the denial of they stay.

In a flurry of legal filings, the Justice Department also asked the court to put a separate injunction on hold that was issued by a district court judge in Hawaii in late March.