US Quakers speak out against Supreme Court decision on 'Muslim ban'


The US Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the Trump administration's travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries.

NPR's Nina Totenberg has full coverage of the court's decision in the travel ban case here.

Look, I get why the travel ban-revised after the original one was blocked by the courts-is so controversial, given that it's aimed at majority Muslim countries. Mr. Trump said in a statement after the ruling that it was a "tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution".

The court said that the ban is "facially neutral toward religion", and that the Trump's statements don't change that fact. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that the U.S. President has the Constitutional authority to block "entry of nationals who can not be adequately vetted".

With regards to the President's statements, Roberts wrote, "But the issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements".

The ban stops refugees and immigrants from coming into the US, for an extended period of time, from five Muslim-majority countries: Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

The United States Supreme Court is running a bit later than usual in winding up its year - usually it's left town by the last week of June. Trump as a candidate called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States".

In dissent, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor said there were "stark parallels" with the court's now discredited 1944 decision that upheld USA internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

As part of Tuesday's ruling, Roberts officially repudiated the 1944 internment ruling and he rejected the comparison, saying that the war-era practice was "objectively unlawful and outside the scope of presidential authority". As the son of immigrants from Haiti, a nation Trump derided as a "shithole", I'm well aware of the ugly biases driving the president's policies.

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Rights groups immediately criticised the ruling.

"Under these circumstances, the government has set forth a sufficient national security justification to survive rational basis review", the court said. "The court's decision demonstrates that we have a long way to go before we live up to our highest ideals".

But he said the reference did give the court a chance to make official something it never had before: "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".

Two previous attempts by the Trump administration to restrict immigration from majority-Muslim countries have been struck down by federal courts. The policy applies to travelers from five countries with mostly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

Trump first introduced the executive order the month he became president, in January 2017, with plans to put it into effect nearly immediately, setting off a series of protests in airports across the country.

The US Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote put into effect Trump's travel ban. It also halted refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely banned Syrian refugees, but contained an exception for members of "religious minorities".

Mr Trump tweaked the order after the 9th United States circuit court of appeals in San Francisco refused to reinstate the ban. This was painfully obvious in the travel-ban decision: The justices, scoring points as if in a debating competition, missed the big-picture impact their decision would have on discrimination generally and on the president's shaky regard for the rule of law.

It also comes as the Trump administration is aggressively pressing its "zero tolerance" policy against foreigners who illegally cross the southern border. It originally included travelers from Chad, but those restrictions were lifted in April after the USA determined that Chadian officials had "sufficiently improved" the country's performance on passport and border controls.