In a court filing on Friday, the administration asked the justices to overturn Thursday's decision by a USA district judge in Hawaii, which limited the scope of the administration's temporary ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries.
On Friday night, the Justice Department filed an appeal of Watson's ruling.
The US Justice Department said on Friday that it will ask the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii that the administration's definition of close family in allowing exemptions to President Donald Trump's ban on US entry for residents of six Muslim-majority countries is too narrow.
Citing national security concerns and the vetting process, the Trump administration had set a 50,000 cap for refugees for the 12-month period ending Sep. Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments in the fall to determine whether the ban is constitutional.
Citing a need to review its vetting process to ensure national security, the administration capped refugee admissions at 50,000 for the 12-month period ending September 30, a ceiling it hit this week. The two filings overlap, and the appeals court could defer action until it sees what the Supreme Court does.
He charged that the lower court had "improperly substituted its policy preferences for the national security judgments of the executive branch at a time of grave threats, defying both the lawful prerogatives of the executive branch and the directive of the Supreme Court".
The justices now are scattered during their summer recess, so any short-term action would come in written filings.
That document barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days and excluded all refugees for 120 days. But grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law are excluded.
The Supreme Court's ruling exempted a large swath of refugees and travelers with a "bona fide relationship" with a person or an entity in the U.S. The justices did not define those relationships but said they could include a close relative, a job offer or admission to a college or university. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a Motion to Clarify and Application for Stay after Hawaii Attorney General Douglas S. Chin judge-shopped seeking a broader definition pertaining to those permitted to enter the U.S.
The Trump administration interpreted that to mean spouses, siblings, parents, fiancées and children.
"Family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough", Chin said.