By Prarthana Mitra
In New York City and Washington D.C., activists, government officials and citizens called the Supreme Court out for upholding President Donald Trump’s travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries, a policy that is on the “wrong side of history.”
In a historic 5-to-4 vote on Tuesday, the court’s conservatives delivered political victory to the US administration and endorsed Trump’s zero-tolerance policy to control immigration, at a time when events at the Mexican border have sparked international outrage.
Calling it a lawful exercise of presidential authority, the court chose to overlook the fact that the country’s top government official was violating the First Amendment in acting out of religious animosity.
— TIME (@TIME) June 27, 2018
Here’s what happened
Anti-immigration slogans have been a part of Trump’s electoral campaign from the beginning. The travel ban-the real purpose is which is to discriminate on the basis of religion- was first proposed in 2015 and has faced numerous legal battles since the first term of the Trump administration. The third and more “politically correct” version of the 2015 proposal was what eventually passed on Tuesday. Calling it a “tremendous victory”, the president promised to continue defending the country against terrorism, crime and extremism with the powers his presidency affords him.
“This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country,” read the White House statement released after the announcement.
The voice of dissent
According to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, at the heart of the case lies “a series of statements by the President and his advisers both during the campaign and since the President assumed office.”
Calling the decision harrowing and motivated by hostility, Sotomayor said that it was no better than the 1944 decision made in the Korematsu v. United States case, that endorsed the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor on travel ban decision: "The President's statements…strongly support the conclusion that the Proclamation was issued to express hostility toward Muslims and exclude them from the country." https://t.co/wDtTgGJW9b pic.twitter.com/ROKAPHQdZX
— ABC News (@ABC) June 27, 2018
In a passionate and searing dissent from the bench, she writes, “Our Constitution demands, and our country deserves, a Judiciary willing to hold the coordinate branches to account when they defy our most sacred legal commitments. Because the Court’s decision today has failed in that respect, with profound regret, I dissent.”
Why you should care
Just days after the reprehensible policy that separated migrant children from their families at the US-Mexico border was reversed, the government has now received a new blessing to fish out a “not welcome” board for those who are looking to escape from brutally violent countries in Asia and Africa.
Even if we ignore the unchecked American jurisprudence and the president’s blatant violation of constitutional policies, the ramification of this move extends beyond the borders, to millions of Muslims trapped in war-torn zones looking for a place to escape to. Over the last few years, fewer visas have been issued to people from the targeted countries, and the number of refugees has fallen to a historical low, reports the New York Times.
Jews and Muslims unite in New York to protest Trump's travel ban https://t.co/9rGsbhwI6l
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) June 27, 2018
While the highest official and highest court of the land may claim that president has statutory and legal authority to make national security judgments in the area of immigration, many national security experts have convincingly argued that such travel bans may actually make the US less safe.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.