The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban is another disappointing decision from a court that is rapidly losing its way on key religious freedom issues.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump made his animus toward Muslims clear. At one point, he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Trump vowed to create a database of Muslims in America and flirted with the idea of closing mosques. He told lies about the way Muslims in New Jersey reacted to the 9/11 attacks and once remarked, “I think Islam hates us. There’s something there that – there’s a tremendous hatred there.”
This just scratches the surface. Trump unleashed dozens of similar statements. His Muslim ban, which he tried three times to implement, was obviously inspired by bias, crude stereotypes and fear. It was not the product of sound policymaking.
Yet according to our nation’s highest court, this doesn’t matter. A court majority on June 26 simply ignored Trump’s own words and actions and overturned an injunction that had put the ban on hold.
Ironically, the court ruled June 4 in the case of a Colorado bakery that wanted to discriminate against LGBTQ people that government entities must take care not to allow even a hint of religious bias to creep into their deliberations. It’s hard to see how the court majority can square that command with a government action that seeks to harm people and deny them rights for no other reason than the religion they adhere to.
When the high court has issued rulings in the past that allow for discrimination against people on the basis of race or nationality, it has always regretted them later. This poorly reasoned decision is bound to suffer the same fate.