The Supreme Court Ignores the Reality of President Trump’s Discriminatory Muslim Ban

The Supreme Court today rejected the challenge to President Trump’s Muslim Ban. In its 5-to-4 decision, the court failed to make good on principles at the heart of our constitutional system — including the absolute prohibition on official disfavor of a particular religion. The fight against the ban will continue, but the court’s decision is devastating. History will not be kind to the court’s approval of an unfounded and blatantly anti-Muslim order. 

By now the story of this shameful policy is familiar. During his campaign, Trump issued a statement calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — which remained on his website until well into his term in office. That was hardly a stray comment. Rather, over and over, both before and after the election, Trump expressed his animus for Islam and Muslims and tied that animus to his proposed immigration ban. 

Just one week into office, Trump attempted to make good on the campaign promise, issuing a sweeping ban on over a hundred million Muslims without even consulting the government’s national security experts. Courts rejected that first version as well as the order the administration crafted to replace it. Finally, those temporary measures were replaced by the current proclamation, which likewise bans over 150 million people — approximately 95 percent of them Muslim. As Justice Sotomayor explained in her dissenting opinion, Trump’s consistent messages and actions paint a “harrowing picture, from which a reasonable observer would readily conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith.” 

Nonetheless, the court today rejected the constitutional challenge to the ban. Applying deference to the president despite the evidence presented, the court explained that it would “uphold the policy so long as it can reasonably be understood to result from a justification independent of unconstitutional grounds.” The court then concluded based on the record in the case that the ban had “a legitimate grounding in national security concerns, quite apart from any religious hostility.” 

As Justice Sotomayor cogently explained, the majority could reach this conclusion only by “ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals.”  In this respect, as she noted, the case repeats some of the worst mistakes the court has made in the past.  In particular, the parallels to Korematsu v. United States, the court’s 1944 decision upholding the incarceration of Japanese-Americans, are striking.  

As in that case, the court today paid lip service to the vital constitutional values at stake, but it willfully ignored the reality of the situation. The majority today repudiated Korematsu, saying it “was gravely wrong the day it was decided.” But as Justice Sotomayor pointed out, then, as now, it was clear to those willing to look at the evidence that the government’s policy was not about safety but prejudice: 

“By blindly accepting the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward a disfavored group, all in the name of a superficial claim of national security, the Court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu and merely replaces one ‘gravely wrong’ decision with another.”

Today’s decision is devastating. Whatever the court may have intended, the message it relays to Muslim communities around the country and around the world is that our Constitution tolerates transparent discrimination and animus against Islam. It undermines our standing to encourage tolerance and pluralistic democracy abroad, and it reinforces the intended message that Muslims — and immigrants, people of color, LGBT communities, and other marginalized groups — are not welcome in Trump’s America.

But this fight is not over.  

Indeed, the greatest repudiation of Trump’s anti-Muslim policy to date was not delivered by any court. Instead, it was delivered by thousands of people spontaneously coming together at airports across the country to declare that we will not stand for hatred and discrimination.  

Tell Congress to rescind the Muslim Ban

In that spirit, we all need to redouble our efforts to organize, protest, and push Congress to end the ban once and for all. This is a painful setback, but the struggle for a free, equal, and inclusive America will continue.

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Anonymous

I find it horrifying that we have a government which will condone racial and religious discrimination. This ruling simply gives people validation that it is ok to be discriminatory towards people who are of a different background from yourself. Today we would never accept people putting signs in windows refusing to provide service to a person of color as they did before the Civil Rights Movement. So why would we accept a population being discriminated against based on their religious beliefs? Justice Roberts says in his opinion allowing the Japanese-American Internment camps was a wrong decision, but how is this decision any different? Like the internment camps this ruling will also go down in history as morally and ethically wrong.

Anonymous

"Today we would never accept people putting signs in windows refusing to provide service to a person of color as they did before the Civil Rights Movement." Unless they're republican, in which case it's acceptable.

Anonymous

This ruling only applies to what a President can or can't do.

Tom

How is the travel ban "anti-Muslim" when the list doesn't include the top 5 nations (as well as 9 of the top 10) with the most Muslims nor the top 5 countries with the highest Muslim concentration?

Anonymous

It is more like which countries are NOT there if it is TRULY for our national security bothers me:
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq, Turkey
Which happens to be the countries that POTUS does active business with but happens to be countries which large concentration of terrorists as well as 3 of the countries are ones where perpetrators of LARGEST terrorist act ever happened in US soil came from.

Anonymous

It is convenient that countries Mr. Trump does business in, which are also highly Muslim, are omitted from the travel ban. Look back at his speeches during his campaign and what he said when he first took office. This is a Muslim ban plain and simple, veiled in a very thin cloth of national security. The court may be ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump being able to do something like this but we all know why he did it. The United States was built by immigrants who fled an oppressive government. Ever since then one group after another has been oppressed by its people. The Native Americans, African Americans, Women, the LGBT Community have all had to fight to obtain the same rights as everyone else. Muslim's are just the latest target. The Republican Party is generalizing about an entire population. Categorizing all Muslim's as terrorists because a few of them have decided to attack the United States. Its interesting though, when republicans are presented with a mass shooting committed by a white Christian citizen of the United States and asked about gun control laws they smirk and say you can't generalize about the entire gun owning population because a few decide to shoot up a school, but thats exactly what they are doing in regards to Muslims. Maybe their opinion would change if it was their child that got shot just like their opinion would change if it was their child, spouse, or family member that was being denied entry to the united stated simply because of their belief system. The First Amendment of the Constitution gives freedom of religion. Maybe that should be changed to only religion approved by the state. The travel ban may only be for 7 countries currently, but whats next? History is dangerously close to repeating itself and congress is in desperate need of history lesson. Germany warned us before the election that they had a man very much like Mr. Trump in power and they would never do it again. Apparently at least the 62,979,636 people who cast votes for a modern day Hitler disagree. Kick everyone out that isn't like us. If they aren't white and wealthy they aren't welcome here. This is the stance the current government is taking and I am embarrassed to live in a country that holds civil rights and human rights so dear to then abandon them so quickly.

Anonymous

Because He called it Muslim Ban Himself...

Anonymous

How does it feel to lose again ACLU?

Anonymous

This is nothing like what happened to the people during WW II. Its 3-5 countries out of 45 that are controlled by muslims and one has been on the ban list and bans Americans for years (Iran). NK has been on the ban list for at least three Presidents including Obama. Venezuela has turned into a third world country before our eyes. This is a fake outrage and it saddens me that ACLU is backing this kind of political discord.

Anonymous

Iranians like me who fled religious prosecution and come here to contribute to this country are ignored by this administration. There is not even single incident of iranian posing national security threat to US. Ofcourse iranina regime sponser terrorism but according to president Trump own statement they take iranian people hostage. Whey we the people must pay price for the dictators whom we do not have anything to do with them. Just think about us for a moment. I moved to the US four years ago and my mom came and visit me two times but now I have no idea when I can see her again because of travel ban. I can't leave US since I'm on single entry student visa if I step my foot out of the country I have to apply for visa again and I will lose my position.

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