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Sotomayor Calls Out Trump's 'Unrelenting Attack' on Muslims

Travel ban dissent is scathing, but president hails vindication against 'hysterical' critics
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2018 2:07 PM CDT
Sotomayor Calls Out Trump's 'Unrelenting Attack' on Muslims
Protesters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, June 26, 2018.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – The travel ban stands. So ruled the Supreme Court on Tuesday in a ruling that President Trump was quick to celebrate, reports NBC News. In a statement, he said the decision reaffirms his authority to act in the name of national security, adding that it "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." In person, he told reporters it was a "tremendous victory for the American people." Not everyone agrees, most notably Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Details on that and other developments:

  • Stinging dissent: Sotomayor wrote one of two dissents, arguing that the travel ban is clearly based on "animosity toward" Muslims and that the court has therefore failed to uphold the principle of religious liberty, reports Vox. She cites Trump's own remarks about Islam, noting that he has never disavowed any of them. "Instead, he has continued to make remarks that a reasonable observer would view as an unrelenting attack on the Muslim religion and its followers." Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined her.

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  • The majority: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 5-4 majority decision, and he, too, took note of Trump's statements about Islam. “The issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements,” he wrote, per the New York Times. “We must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself.” In short, he concluded that the travel ban itself was neutrally worded and within the bounds of presidential authority.
  • Annotated: The Washington Post has an annotated version of the decision, with key sections highlighted. One piece of analysis: "Even as they will rule his travel ban didn’t discriminate, they are clearly wary of his rhetoric on this topic," writes Aaron Blake.
  • The ban: The court upheld Trump's third iteration of a travel ban after the first two ran into trouble, and it applies to travelers from North Korea, Venezuela, and five Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. But that “does not support an inference of religious hostility, given that the policy covers just 8% of the world’s Muslim population and is limited to countries that were previously designated by Congress or prior administrations as posing national security risks," wrote Roberts, as noted in analysis by Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog.
  • Japanese comparison: In her dissent, Sotomayor likened the decision to the Supreme Court ruling in Korematsu vs. US that upheld the detention of Japanese-Americans during WWII, reports the AP. But Roberts dismissed that idea. "Korematsu has nothing to do with this case" and "was gravely wrong the day it was decided."
  • Reaction: CNN rounds it up, from one Democratic lawmaker calling the decision a "dark stain on our history" to Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling it a "great victory for the safety and security of all Americans." Protesters immediately gathered outside the Supreme Court.
(Read more Trump travel ban stories.)

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