A large crowd rallies in front of the U.S. Capitol to denounce President Donald Trump's travel ban order. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union took the first steps Friday to challenge the Trump administration’s revised travel restrictions in court.

The ACLU lawyers, along with a team from the National Immigration Law Center, filed a letter in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland stating their intent to file an amended complaint to address President Donald Trump’s new travel restrictions, issued Sunday. Chuang enjoined Trump’s March 6 travel ban executive order earlier this year. That ruling was upheld by the Fourth Circuit and is now pending at the U.S. Supreme Court, though the court removed oral arguments in the case from its calendar Monday.  

“President Trump’s newest travel ban is still a Muslim ban at its core, and it certainly engages in discrimination based on national origin, which is unlawful,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement. “Adding a few North Koreans and a tiny group of Venezuelan officials doesn’t paper over the original sin of the Muslim ban. We’ll see President Trump in court—again.”

Trump’s new restrictions bar entry from eight countries, including two that do not have majority-Muslim populations: North Korea and Venezuela. Chuang blocked the March 6 order, which barred entry from six majority-Muslim countries, on the grounds that it likely discriminated based on religion and was therefore unconstitutional. Trump issued the March 6 order after his first travel ban, issued Jan. 27, was enjoined by the Ninth Circuit in February.

In the letter, the ACLU and NILC lawyers requested a conference with the judge on their anticipated motion, and added that the government did not oppose the filing of a new complaint in the case. However, the letter noted that the government would ask that their obligation to reply to the complaint be stayed until the case surrounding Chuang’s preliminary injunction is resolved.

The lawyers said that the judge should allow them to amend their original complaint because doing so is permissible under court rules and “would further the interests of justice.”

It’s unclear how the Supreme Court plans to handle the case at the moment. After it removed the scheduled Oct. 10 arguments on the issue, the court asked the parties to file briefs addressing the potential mootness of the case, which are due Oct. 5.