The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, Tuesday (June 26, 2018) ruled in favor of the third iteration of President Donald Trump’s travel ban (known as Muslim Ban 3.0) on five Muslim countries.
In his decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Trump had used his executive authority to “suspend entry of aliens into the United States.” “The [order] is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” Roberts wrote. “The text says nothing about religion.”
Justice Sotomayor in her dissent, wrote: “A reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than by the Government’s asserted national-security justifications. Even before being sworn into office, then-candidate Trump stated that ‘Islam hates us.'”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor recalled previous statement’s from the president calling for a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S., and also noted Trump’s penchant sharing anti-Muslim videos on Twitter, including one titled, “Muslim destroys a statue of Virgin Mary!” “Take a brief moment and let the gravity of those statements sink in,” she said.
The president responded to the court’s decision in a Tuesday morning tweet, and later called it a
tremendous victory’ andmoment of profound vindication’. “Supreme court upholds Trump travel ban. Wow!” he wrote on Twitter.
The current ban, announced in September, prohibits entry into the US by most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also affects two non-Muslim majority countries, blocking travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.
The Supreme Court decision was widely denounced by civil advocacy, Arab, Muslim and religious groups as well as lawyers. Surprisingly, even the atheists also bitterly criticized the decision.
ACLU Slams Supreme Court Decision
The American Civil Liberties Union sent out a series of tweets harshly criticizing a Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday (June 26, 2018) that upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The ACLU compared it to the court allowing the government to imprison Japanese Americans during World War II. The organization also called on the public to demonstrate against the decision.
Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s immigrants’ rights project, said this ruling will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court’s great failures. “It repeats the mistakes of the Korematsu decision upholding Japanese-American imprisonment and swallows wholesale government lawyers’ flimsy national security excuse for the ban instead of taking seriously the president’s own explanation for his action. It is ultimately the people of this country who will determine its character and future. The court failed today, and so the public is needed more than ever.”
ADC: This is a dark hour for the country
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is deeply troubled and disappointed by the decision of the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) today (June 26) to uphold President Donald Trump’s Arab and Muslim Ban. The ADC President Samer Khalaf said:,”This decision is a repugnant affirmation that religion or national origin can be used to determine ones access to basic freedoms. Regardless of today’s decision the implementation of the Ban has shown that it is xenophobic, bigoted, anti-Arab and Islamophobic.” “We are saddened and troubled by today’s decision upholding the Arab and Muslim Ban,” said Abed Ayoub, the ADC Legal Director. “Today’s decision will have a disastrous impact on this country as it illustrates that xenophobia, islamophobia, and bigotry are acceptable governing policies for the United States. This is a dark hour for the country, and the Supreme Court.”
Arab American Institute: Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry said with this ruling, the Supreme Court majority has given a blank check to President Trump and future presidents to discriminate simply by claiming national security justifications. “Today we need Congress, as a coequal branch of government, to act to affirm the equal dignity of all, regardless of religion or national origin, he said adding: “In spite of this decision, AAI will continue work tirelessly with both the legislative and judicial branches toward the goal of ensuring that all Americans, as well as guests in our country, are free from government-sponsored discrimination.”
CAIR decries d Supreme Court’s decision
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today (June 26, 2018) decried the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision announced this morning to allow the Muslim Ban 3.0 to remain in effect.
In a statement in reaction to today’s ruling, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said: “This is a setback; not the end of the road. Today, the Supreme Court made it clear that the responsibility will continue to be on the American Muslim community and its allies to push for an end to the Muslim Ban. The Supreme Court’s decision is an invitation to inject discrimination back into our immigration system. More than half a century ago, Congress abandoned a racist immigration system that preferred some races over others. This decision is an abandonment of that milestone. The Muslim Ban’s bigotry should have been as clear to the Supreme Court as it is to the Muslims demonized by it. Apparently, everyone but the Supreme Court can see the decision for what it is: an expression of animosity.”
Keith Ellison: Today’s ruling will be remembered as a mark of shame
In a message Rep. Keith Ellison, who is leaving the congress to contest for Attorney General of Minnesota, said:
“Our nation was founded on the principles of religious freedom and tolerance. Yet today’s ruling has lent legitimacy to the Islamophobia and scapegoating that was a hallmark of this President’s campaign, and which remains a central focus of his Administration.
“The United States has always been a nation of immigrants – a beacon for those seeking refuge from war, tyranny, oppression, and instability. We’ve aspired to govern in the spirit of the words so many have read at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty, “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” And we’ve all been made better for it.
“Today’s decision falls far below those ideals. It is unjust, and it will be remembered as a mark of shame on our nation’s history. But until then, it’s never been more important for us to fight for an America that respects the humanity we all share.”
Quaker Lobby Denounces Supreme Court Ruling
The Quaker Lobby, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), strongly criticized the Supreme Court for ruling in support of yet another Muslim travel ban.
“This ruling does not change the fact that President Trump’s executive order immorally and intentionally targets Muslim citizens, immigrants, and visitors from reuniting with their family members and traveling to the United States,” said Diane Randall, Executive Secretary for FCNL. “Quakers strongly oppose this Muslim ban and all means of religious and racial discrimination. Detention and exclusion of individuals based on religion or country of origin is unjust.”
“Our heart goes out to families and individuals who continue to be affected by this racist Muslim ban,” said Hannah Graf Evans, Legislative Representative for Immigration and Refugee Policy at FCNL. “We continue to stand with them, as we have since the moment this Islamophobic ban first was signed.”
Muslim Advocates: Muslim Ban Decision “Puts the basic rights of all Americans at risk.”
In a statement Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, said in affirming President Trump’s bigoted Muslim Ban, the Supreme Court has given a green light to religious discrimination and animus. “Not since key decisions on slavery, segregation in schools, and Japanese American incarceration, have we seen a decision that so clearly fails to protect those most vulnerable to government-led discrimination. Trump may have won this round, but we are focused on the next round and will continue to fight until justice prevails and his anti-Muslim agenda is overturned for good,” she said adding:
“This decision puts the basic rights of all Americans at risk. It says that even when an administration is clearly anti-Muslim, when it targets Muslims, when it insults Muslims, and when it puts a policy in place that specifically hurts Muslims – that the Court will let it stand. If it can happen to Muslims, it can happen to anyone.”
Neal Katyal, the Washington lawyer who argued the case for Hawaii and other challengers, expressed disappointment at the ruling and called on Congress to step in. “We continue to believe, as do four dissenting justices, that the travel ban is unconstitutional, unprecedented, unnecessary and un-American,” he said in a statement. “. . . The travel ban is atrocious policy, and makes us less safe and undermines our American ideals. Now that the Court has upheld it, it is up to Congress to do its job and reverse President Trump’s unilateral and unwise travel ban.”
Atheists condemn Supreme Court decision Permitting Trump’s Muslim travel ban
Tellingly a number of secular groups have spoken out against the decision, calling it a form of religious discrimination. In other words a whole bunch of atheists are defending Muslims and religious freedom, because discrimination on the basis of religion should concern all of us.
Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America said:
By upholding President Trump’s travel ban, the Supreme Court has legitimized bigotry and threatened the rights of all Americans. This travel ban is nothing more than a thinly-veiled religious test and the fulfillment of President Trump’s repeated pledge to institute a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’ Any reasonable observer assessing the travel ban in light of President Trump’s 2016 campaign will see it for what it is — an assertion of Christian privilege, anti-Muslim bigotry, a rebuke of our First Amendment, and a grave threat to religious freedom.
Freedom From Religion Foundation said the ruling ignored very clear constitutional limits:
“This decision is shocking on two fronts. First, America is not supposed to have an imperial presidency. The Supreme Court failed its duty to check the president’s unconstitutional decision,” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Second, its judgment will cement the notion of second-class status for those belonging to minority religions or no religion at all.”
Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, also spoke out against the religious bias: “The Supreme Court today has forsaken one of our most foundational and cherished values — that our government must never single out any one religion for discrimination. Our hearts break for the millions of Americans who, because of the Muslim ban, will continue to be separated from their loved ones and face peak rates of hate crimes and maltreatment.”
American Atheists’ interim executive director Ed Buckner also chimed in: Singling out any group of people for disfavor, or favor, on the basis of their religious beliefs is un-American, unconstitutional, and is something that American Atheists will not stand for. Religious neutrality and equal protection under the law are the promises of our Constitution, and today the Supreme Court fell far short of those promises.
Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, wrote that “today is a sad day for American institutions, and for all religious minorities who have ever sought refuge in a land promising freedom.” The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty said in a statement that “we are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s refusal to repudiate policy rooted in animus against Muslims.”
In New York City, about three dozen activists, government officials and concerned citizens declared at a midday news conference that the court was on the “wrong side of history.” Bitta Mostofi, the commissioner of immigrant affairs for the New York mayor’s office, called the ruling an “institutionalization of Islamophobia and racism.”
Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center said: The Muslim Ban, a draconian centerpiece of the Trump administration’s hateful agenda, is a deep assault on our country’s values of inclusion, compassion, and religious freedom.
Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist joint committee for religious liberty said: We are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s refusal to repudiate policy rooted in animus against Muslims. In giving such broad deference to President Trump, the court neglects its duty to uphold our First Amendment principles of religious liberty. Safeguarding religious liberty requires the government to remain neutral with regard to religion, neither favoring one religion over another nor preferring religion or irreligion.
The Daily Beast: Supreme Court Ignores Trump’s Words
Supreme Court Ignores Trump’s Words, Upholds ‘Muslim Ban,’ was the title of the apex court decision in the Daily Beast. Jay Michaelson of the Daily Beast wrote:
Even though Trump called it a “Muslim ban” on multiple occasions, even though it is unprecedented in breadth, and even though it permanently bans 150 million people from entering the United States, mostly on the basis of religion, the Court put those facts aside because a president’s decisions on national security are subject to a very low standard of review by the Court.
Once again, the Court held that a very low standard of review was appropriate. Most serious freedom of religion cases require that the government show a compelling state interest to act and a narrowly tailored response to that interest. The travel ban would surely violate the second part of that test: it is wildly overbroad, the very opposite of narrowly tailored.
Once again, the standard dictated the outcome. Because of that “rational basis” standard, the Court took the Trump administration at its word. The administration cooked up rationales for the ban, and the Court ate them up. What about all of those times Trump made outrageous, false, and defamatory statements about Muslims, and offered them as the real reason for the ban? In short, the Court isn’t going to go looking for the truth here, because national security is a presidential prerogative. If the government offers a plausible explanation, that is enough.
The United States of America is a Nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our Founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment. The Court’s decision today fails to safeguard that fundamental principle. It leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” because the policy now masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns.
Richard Wolf of USA Today writes: A deeply divided Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s immigration travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries Tuesday as a legitimate exercise of executive branch authority. It hands a major victory to Trump, who initiated the battle to ban travelers a week after assuming office last year. It was a defeat for Hawaii and other states that challenged the action, as well as immigration rights groups.
The New York Times writes: Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear of New York Times wrote, the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, delivering to the president on Tuesday a political victory and an endorsement of his power to control immigration at a time of political upheaval about the treatment of migrants at the Mexican border. The court’s travel ban decision provides new political ammunition for the president and members of his party as they prepare to face the voters in the fall. Mr. Trump has already made clear his plans to use anti-immigrant messaging as he campaigns for Republicans, much the way he successfully deployed the issue to whip up the base of the party during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Los Angeles Times reports: David G. Savage reporting about the Supreme Court decision in the Los Angeles Times said: The Supreme Court handed President Trump the most significant legal victory of his presidency on Tuesday, upholding the administration’s ban on foreign visitors and immigrants from several mostly Muslim countries. By a 5-4 vote, the court’s conservative justices bolstered the chief executive’s power to control the borders, just as he is battling a growing crisis over the separation of families crossing illegally along the border with Mexico.
The majority rejected arguments that Trump overstepped his presidential authority and that his targeting of Muslim-majority countries violated the Constitution’s ban on religious discrimination. The ruling is a major victory for Trump and his administration as well as an implicit rebuke to the judges on the East and West coasts who repeatedly issued nationwide orders to block the travel ban. The court’s decision comes as the Trump administration has attempted to impose a “zero tolerance” policy against foreigners who illegally cross the southern border — sparking an international backlash after more than 2,000 children were forcibly separated from their parents, who are being held in immigration jails.
Department of Homeland Security: In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security also responded to the Tuesday ruling, saying that it, “confirms the legality of these critically important executive actions, and the DHS will continue to faithfully execute our country’s immigration laws and treat everyone we encounter humanely and with professionalism.”
“It is the duty of the government to ensure that those seeking to enter our country will not harm the American people,” the statement continued. “While we have the most generous immigration system in the world, it has repeatedly been exploited by terrorists and other malicious actors who seek to do us harm. President Trump’s executive actions take important steps to protect the American people by allowing for the proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals.”
Korematsu vs. United States
According to Los Angeles Times, despite the bitter dispute over the travel ban, the decision included one positive note that both sides celebrated: a formal overruling of the 1944 decision in Korematsu vs. United States, which upheld the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast.
Calling that ruling a “shameful precedent,” Sotomayor said she saw “stark parallels” with the travel ban ruling because both accepted the government’s claim that national security was at stake.
This prompted a sharp retort from Roberts. “Whatever rhetorical advantage the dissent may see in doing so, Korematsu has nothing to do with this case,” he wrote. “The forcible relocation of U.S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of the presidential authority. But it is wholly inapt to liken that morally repugnant order” to a policy “denying certain foreign nationals the privilege of admission.”
He added that the reference to Korematsu “affords this court the opportunity to make express what is already obvious: Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and — to be clear — ‘has no place in law under the Constitution,’” quoting a dissent written to the 1944 ruling by former Justice Robert Jackson.
Both Sotomayor and Breyer complained that the majority was applying a looser standard of religious animus that they applied in another recent case. They pointed out that the conservative justices cited “official expressions of hostility to religion” by a state government agency as the reason to rule last week for a Colorado baker who cited his Christian beliefs in refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. “It should find the same here,” Sotomayor said, citing Trump’s repeated statements criticizing Muslims and Islam.