Derrick Watson, the Hawaiian district judge who initially overturned President Donald Trump's second travel ban has until July 19 to explain his reasoning to the Supreme Court.

Travel Ban: Watson vs the Trump Administration

Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban finally landed a win when on June 26 the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ruling on the federal statute. The judges on the Supreme Court issued a joint statement which allowed the March 6 ban to apply to all travelers from six countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – who lacked a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”. They have agreed to hear the case in October at the earliest.

However, a lot can happen between now and October. In fact, a lot already has.

Shortly after the Supreme Court made its decision, the Trump Administration released its own statements ordering federal immigration officials to further limit admission to citizens of travel ban countries who were “spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law [or] sibling, whether whole or half”.

While the administration celebrated its ability to finally implement the ban, albeit a truncated version, Judge Derrick Watson, a U.S. District Court Judge in Hawaii was ready with a scathing dissent. He argued that immigration officials should not enforce the ban on “grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins” of US citizens either.

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He stated that “common sense" dictated "close family members be defined to include grandparents”. Watson ultimately concluded that the White House’s list of bona fide relations was “the antithesis of common sense”.

Travel Ban: Both before the bench

In response to Justice Watson’s ruling, Acting Solicitor General Jeffery Wall presented a 40-page document asking the Supreme Court to clarify its June 26 statements, The Economist reported. Essentially Wall asked the court to rubber stamp Trump’s limited interpretation of its initial ruling. Yet there were clear flaws with the request. One of the most striking, as stated by the Economist, was the fact that the document asked the bench of “octogenarians to determine whether or not they were close to their grandchildren”.

Regardless, Justice Watson will soon join Wall before the Supreme Court’s decision-making panel as he has been asked to a submit a statement of his own by July 19, signaling that a clarification will be issued sooner, rather than later.

Travel Ban: Whichever way the court goes

Which way the Court will ultimately decide is still difficult to determine. The Supreme Court has a history of supporting the President on issues regarding immigration. It also has a stronger conservative tilt with the contentious addition of Neil Gorsuch to the bench this year. Gorsuch, as well as Justices Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito issued an additional document on June 26 detailing their support for the implementation of the ban in its entirety. However, the Administration has consistently failed to provide evidence that its actions diminish the national security threats faced by the United States. This could become an even more important factor than precedence or judicial leanings.

Whatever happens, rest assured that there is still more drama to come in the epic saga of Trump’s travel ban.