Jun 26, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning ruled 5-4 in Trump v. Hawaii that President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, a policy that blocks travel to the United States by people from several Muslim-majority nations, may remain in place.

Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United, issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court today has forsaken one of our most foundational and cherished values – that our government must never single out any one religion for discrimination. Our hearts break for the millions of Americans who, because of the Muslim ban, will continue to be separated from their loved ones and face peak rates of hate crimes and maltreatment.

“We refuse to be Americans divided. We are Americans united in the belief that people of all faiths, and with no religious affiliation too, all deserve equal treatment in America. We know well that when it comes to religious freedom, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, ‘Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.’ We call on all Americans to rise up and repudiate the politics of fear, hate and division coming out of this administration.”

Laser said the decision is ironic, as it comes just a few weeks after the Supreme Court ruled in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission that government entities must take special care to ensure that their actions are untainted by religious bias. That standard should have invalidated the Muslim ban, she said.

Laser also cited stirring language from today’s dissent penned by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who wrote, “The United States of America is a Nation built on 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.”

The high court overturned a preliminary injunction that had blocked implementation of the ban. It also sent the case back to a lower court for further consideration, meaning it may still be possible to fight the ban in court.

Americans United, joined by Muslim Advocates and the law firm Covington & Burling, filed IAAB v. Trump, the first lawsuit brought against Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0. The plaintiffs include Iranian Alliances Across Borders, an Iranian-American diaspora community organization; the Iranian Students’ Foundation, a student group at the University of Maryland; and six individuals, all of whom are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents with relatives or spouses who are blocked from coming to the United States by the Muslim ban. The case was brought in consultation with the National Iranian American Council.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February in favor of the IAAB plaintiffs and the plaintiffs in two companion cases, proclaiming that Muslim Ban 3.0 is “unconstitutionally tainted with animus towards Islam.”

Also still pending are two other federal lawsuits stemming from Trump’s Muslim ban: Brennan Center for Justice v. U.S. Department of State and Muslim Advocates v. Department of Homeland Security were filed by Americans United and allies to compel the Trump administration to provide information about the waiver process and the national security reports that supposedly justify the ban.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom