The Supreme Court closes out its session with a ruling on Tuesday, June 26 of one of the most controversial cases before the bench this year. The divided bench ruled 5-4 to uphold President Donald Trump’s immigration travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries, viewing it as a valid exercise of the executive branch’s authority. The court also didn’t view singling out Muslims as religious persecution in the face of national security concerns.
The ruling reverses a series of lower court decisions that deemed the travel ban as illegal or unconstitutional. It also hands a major victory to Trump, who followed through on a campaign promise by first trying to initiate the ban a week after taking office.
The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who pointed out that the ruling is not a judgment on the soundness of policy. Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor both took the rare step of reading parts of their dissent from the bench. Sotomayor spoke for 20 minutes, quoting the president in office and from the campaign trail, pointing out: “A reasonable observer would conclude that the proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.” She went on to add that anti-Muslim rhetoric is now applied under the auspices of concerns for national security. Sotomayor also compared the Muslim travel ban to Japanese internment camps during World War II.
The Muslim travel ban has gone through several iterations. The list of countries on this ban include: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
The final chapter is not written
This will not likely be the last word on this topic. While the Supreme Court upheld this travel ban, other issues regarding immigrants and asylum seekers will be ongoing. To keep up with the dizzying pace of policy and rulings, it is wise to seek guidance from an attorney who works with immigration law on a daily basis.