By Lara Kajs
In Trump v. Hawaii, the U.S. Supreme Court decided with Trump, allowing the Muslim Travel Ban to stand. The shocking 5-4 ruling was issued on 26 June.
With conservatives in the majority, the Supreme Court ruled that the President has the authority to control travel in the interest of national security, even though the ban targets a specific group of people and is slanted toward predominantly Muslim countries. The court’s four liberals dissented.
Of the decision, Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg issued their scathing dissent:
“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. But this repackaging does little to cleanse Presidential Proclamation No. 9645 of the appearance of discrimination that the President’s words have created. Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus. That alone suffices to show that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim. The majority holds otherwise 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, many of whom are United States citizens. Because that troubling result runs contrary to the Constitution and our precedent, I dissent.Taking all the relevant evidence together, 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,” warned that “[w]e’re having problems with the Muslims, and we’re having problems with Muslims coming into the country,” promised to enact a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and instructed one of his advisers to find a “lega[l]” way to enact a Muslim ban. The President continued to make similar statements well after his inauguration, as detailed above.Moreover, despite several opportunities to do so, President Trump has never disavowed any of his prior statements about Islam. Instead, he has continued to make remarks that a reasonable observer would view as an unrelenting attack on the Muslim religion and its followers. Given President Trump’s failure to correct the reasonable perception of his apparent hostility toward the Islamic faith, it is unsurprising that the President’s lawyers have, at every step in the lower courts, failed in their attempts to launder the Proclamation of its discriminatory taint.”
This Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban undercuts the lower court’s ruling that the ban was discriminatory and unconstitutional.
We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. Let’s be clear, the values at issue in this case are religious freedom and human rights. Not only does the Supreme Court decision say to immigrants, “Stay Away” - not because of anything they have done, but rather because of their religion - but it also upholds a bigoted and hateful viewpoint against Muslims. Intolerance is unacceptable!
President Trump has promoted his anti-Muslim sentiment since the beginning of his campaign. Now, with the support of the Supreme Court, he has successfully managed to clothe his hateful and bigoted views in national security. It is not right. America has long held a proud legacy of providing safe refuge for those seeking freedom and opportunity. We do not punish people who are seeking asylum in an effort to escape persecution, torture or the horrors of war. We offer them sanctuary. America was founded by people fleeing religious persecution. America was founded by refugees.
The Supreme Court decision comes less than a week after U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council. In her statement, Ambassador Haley said that the council had become a “protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.” She went on to say that the U.S would stay by its human rights commitment, but it would not be part of the hypocrisy represented on the rights council.
It seems unlikely that banning an entire religion, something that is counter to the First Amendment, is the actions of an administration that does not want to make a mockery of human rights.
Featured Image: Trump Travel Ban (CNN)