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The Guardians of Democracy

The Guardians of Democracy

In 5-4 Ruling, Supreme Court Upholds Trump Travel Ban Targeting Muslim-Majority Countries


In 5-4 Ruling, Supreme Court Upholds Trump Travel Ban Targeting Muslim-Majority Countries

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s restriction on travel to the United States from five Muslim-majority countries on Tuesday.

The ruling was 5-4 along partisan lines, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the conservative majority.

Trump’s latest policy, issued by a presidential proclamation in September, limited travel into the United States by people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen.

The third version of the travel ban lifted restrictions on visitors from Sudan, and it adds new limits on North Korea and Venezuela.

“The Proclamation is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority,” Roberts wrote.

The state of Hawaii, which led the challenge, argued that the proclamation is a “Muslim ban” that discriminates against immigrants based on their religion in violation of immigration law.

They also argued the policy exceeds the president’s authority and is unconstitutional because it favors one religion over another.

Hawaii pointed to statements Trump made during the campaign and since taking office when he called for a ban on travel from all Muslim-majority countries, but Roberts dismissed those concerns.

The Hill reports:

The government, however, argued the restrictions are the byproduct of a multiagency, worldwide review of whether countries are cooperating with America’s vetting procedures for travelers and immigrants.

The ban was drafted after the first order Trump issued a week after taking office was blocked by lower courts and his second ban expired before reaching the Supreme Court last term. That order banned people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan from coming to the United States for 90 days and excluded all refugees for 120 days.

“Plaintiffs argue that this President’s words strike at fundamental standards of respect and tolerance, in violation of our constitutional tradition,” Roberts wrote. “But the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements. It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ripped the Supreme Court ruling, saying that history will judge the decision harshly.

“BREAKING: SCOTUS has upheld Trump’s Muslim ban,” the ACLU tweeted. “This is not the first time the Court has been wrong, or has allowed official racism and xenophobia to continue rather than standing up to it. History has its eyes on us — and will judge today’s decision harshly. 

The ACLU added that the Supreme Court allowed the U.S. to “imprison Japanese Americans solely because of their national origin and ethnicity, based on empty claims of national security.””It’s one of the most shameful chapters of US history, and today’s decision now joins it,” ACLU said.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a dissent, which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined, that based on the evidence in the case “a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.”

She said her colleagues arrived at the opposite result 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.”

“The United States of America is a Nation built upon the promise of religious liberty,” she added. “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.”

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan also dissented.


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