The Muslim ban is legal.
It’s legal because, even though it came from the president’s demand for a Muslim ban, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it’s not a Muslim ban.
The court in a 5-4 decision Tuesday found that the Trump administration’s ban on travelers from certain Muslim-dominated nations does not violate the Constitution’s Establishment Clause prohibiting the favoring or disfavoring of a religious group.
The ban is absolutely unneeded. There is no elevated terrorism threat from travelers from those countries. Even Chief Justice John Roberts, in his opinion affirming the ban, added, “We express no view on the soundness of the policy.”
The policy is unsound, but that isn’t the point. The point is that this nation doesn’t separate people based on their religions, and the specific wording of the ban doesn’t exist without the intent behind it, which is the president’s insistence that Muslim travelers are a threat.
It’s like hiding prejudice against Mormons by mistreating all Utahns.
In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor sees through the charade.
“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 plantiffs 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 suffing the Proclamation inflicts on countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens.”
The irony of Tuesday’s decision is that it erased an earlier Supreme Court decision that was clearly built on prejudice. The majority specifically vacated 1944′s Korematsu decision, which allowed the Roosevelt administration to put Japanese Americans in internment camps in Utah and elsewhere during World War II for no other reason than their ethnicity. Roberts dismissed the idea that the two situations were parallel, but he added, “Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided [and] has been overruled in the court of history.”
The apparent difference between the internment camps and the Muslim ban was that the government in those days was too obvious in its prejudice. Perhaps if they had rounded up everyone in Japanese neighborhoods, taking a few non-Japanese with them, this current court could have lived with it.
From Utah’s standpoint, the Muslim ban was enabled by its two senators. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee voiced support for the ban. They also aided this court decision with their support of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s sabotage of President Barack Obama’s right to name a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia. A Justice Merrick Garland wouldn’t have joined this majority as Justice Neil Gorsuch did.
So let’s hear again about that kindred relationship between Mormons and Muslims. Some people still aren’t getting it.