The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 54 June 26 in favor of President Donald J. Trump's administration in a legal challenge to the Muslim ban. The ruling allows the administration to continue banning thousands of Muslims from entering the United States--for now.
The Trump v. Hawaii ruling came as a disappointment to many religious freedom advocates, including Americans United, which fought all three iterations of the ban in court.
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 future legal proceedings.
Shortly after the decision was released, AU staff members, allies and activists gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court to protest it.
"Our hearts break for the millions of Americans who, thanks to this ban, face peak rates of hate crimes and maltreatment--and being separated from their loved ones," AU's president and CEO Rachel Laser said at the rally. "And our hearts break for America. For, with this decision, our country has forsaken one of our most cherished values--that our government must never single out any one religion for discrimination."
Laser noted that the ruling came off as hypocritical, given that just weeks earlier, the high court ruled in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission that the First Amendment bars even subtle hostility toward religion. The court pum-meled Colorado state commissioners for "hostility" toward the religious beliefs of a Christian baker, but in the Muslim ban case, they ignored Trump's blatant attacks against Muslims.
"My friends, the Muslim ban, born as a political maneuver to embolden religious and racial bigotry, is hardly subtle," Laser said.
Trump's lengthy list of anti-Muslim remarks includes calling for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" and claiming that Islam "hates us."
In a sharply worded dissent, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg drew parallels between the two cases and attacked the majority opinion for ignoring Trump's anti-Muslim animus on the campaign trail and during his presidency.
"[The same] principles should apply equally here," Sotomayor asserted in the dissent. "But unlike in Masterpiece ... the government actors in this case will not be held accountable for breaching the First Amendment's guarantee of religious neutrality and tolerance."