In a 5-4 decision on Tuesday, the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban which restricts entry into the United States from seven countries: Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela.
The vote was split down the middle between the conservative justices and the liberal–Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch voted in favor of the ban, while Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan voted against.
Thousands mentioned countries are seeking refuge in neighboring and distant nations because of civil unrest at home. This is the third iteration of the ban which has been repeatedly struck down in various state federal courts including Hawaii, Virginia New York and California.
The ban, first instituted in January 2017 weeks after Trump took the oath of office, was highly controversial and labeled by the President as a ban against Muslims entering into the country. The administration later tried to argue that it was not the case, but the majority of the countries listed are indeed mostly populated by Muslims.
“The majority here completely sets aside the President’s charged statements about Muslims as irrelevant,” Justice Sotomayor wrote in the courts dissenting opinion. “That holding erodes the foundational principles of religious tolerance that the court elsewhere has so emphatically protected, and it tells members of minority religions in our country ‘that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community.'”
Sotomayor also included historical context, citing the United States stood on the wrong side of history in the past and listed the 1944 Supreme Court decision which upheld the internment of Japanese Americans.
But Justice Roberts argued that President Trump acted within his constitutional rights. “The Proclamation is squarely within the scope of Presidential authority,” Roberts wrote.
Protesting may seem futile as the SCOTUS decision is now the law of the land, but there’s more work to do. Remember at one point slavery and interning Japanese Americans was the law of the land. Here’s a list of protests uprising all over the nation today in response to the Justice’s decision.
SUPPORT THE ACLU & OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS
Here are a few other organizations doing important work to fight against the Trump administration’s divisive polices: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch. You can contribute by donating your money and/or your time.
CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
Through the phone or through social media, let your local congressman, senators, state senators and governors and state attorney generals. You can find contact information for your local officials here.
VOLUNTEER AT A LOCAL ORGANIZATION WHICH SUPPORTS REFUGEE COMMUNITIES
Find a local org that works to support, nurture and create safe spaces for the communities affected by the ban. Many people are living in fear of deportation and discrimination. You can find opportunities here and here.
VOTE IN NOVEMBER MIDERMS
Midterms offer a chance to replace ineffective elected officials who serve your best interest. Don’t be complacent this year, midterms are a major determinate for the presidential elections!
The mantra “voting matters” really hits home in moments like this. But how did we get here?
A mostly conservative bench was key in passing the ban–due to the fact that each president is usually allowed to nominate at least one person to the court. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016 left an open seat on the bench during President Obama’s presidency. However Congress failed to vote to confirm Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. When Trump came into office, the open seat left him open to nominate Neil Gorsuch who was confirmed by the senate in April 2017. Many argue that if Garland were seated on the bench, the tide would have changed the majority vote.
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