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ON THE DOCKET: Trump v. Hawaii

June 27, 2018

In a decision that stands to echo throughout American history for generations to come, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Trump v. Hawaii that the president’s “Muslim Ban” to restrict travel to the United States from seven Muslim countries will stand. Here’s what you need to know.




From the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic:

“The Supreme Court’s endorsement of the Muslim Ban, like a series of anti-family policies furthered by this administration, will cause irreparable damage to American Muslim families and communities.  As the past months have shown, this administration’s discriminatory tactics at our borders, at our airports, and at workplaces and neighborhoods in urban and rural settings alike, have relentlessly harmed immigrants of color. Widening the gates to state-sanctioned discrimination in the name of national and economic security in this manner is a continuation of the shameful legacy that led to decisions like Dred Scott and Korematsu.

In the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic we fight for families being separated by aggressive immigration policies every single day. Whether it is the indefinite detention of immigrants in our nation’s prisons, the denial of international law protections to refugees and asylees, the rescinding of humanitarian temporary protective status to individuals from nations ravaged by war and natural disaster, and the denial of stability and status to our nation’s DREAMers, we realize every attack on immigrant communities is an attack on our nation, diminishing our core values.

To our clients, our students and the CUNY Law community, we are more motivated than ever to strengthen bonds across impacted immigrant communities, build on your diverse experiences and expertise, and use all the legal and non-legal strategies we can to fight the institutions and leaders who seek to tear our neighborhoods and communities apart. In the recent months, we have been humbled by your strength, commitment to grassroots organizing and directed focus on dismantling oppression. We hope to continue to work with you and serve you in every way we can.”


From CUNY Law’s CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) project:

“The Supreme Court decision in Trump v. Hawaii added to a long history of tragic decisions that will fail the test of time. A majority of justices has rubber-stamped the President’s Muslim Ban — a policy fueled by anti-Muslim bigotry from its inception, which the Administration tinkered with to conceal its intent and mask its effect. This policy, which indefinitely separates U.S. citizens from their Muslim families, was and always will be a Muslim Ban.


The impacts of the ban on Muslim communities in the United States are real: an Iranian grandmother is banned from coming to her grandson’s wedding. A Somali husband is banned from uniting with his wife and child. A Libyan aunt is banned from her niece’s graduation from medical school. A Syrian uncle is banned from witnessing the birth of his first nephew. A Yemeni granddaughter is banned from visiting her grandfather one last time. And while Trump’s proclamation provides for waivers in extreme circumstances, even former consular officers have said that the process for obtaining a waiver is harrowing – very few have been granted to date.


For the past month, we’ve all been shocked by the sights and sounds of families ripped apart at the border. The Supreme Court’s ratification of indefinite family separation has similarly sent shock waves through Muslim communities around the country.


CLEAR stands ready to support individuals and communities in New York City affected by the ban. If you or anyone you know have questions related to Flying While Muslim, or with respect to how the ban might impact you or your family, please do not hesitate to reach out.”




Yesterday’s 5-4 Supreme Court Ruling on Trump v. Hawaii revealed that the court found the so-called “Muslim ban” did not violate the Establishment Clause. (Professor Ruthann Robson reminds us that previously, “The Ninth Circuit, affirming a district judge, found Travel Ban 3.0 unlawful under the Immigration and Nationality Act.”) The majority opinion, penned by Justice Roberts, found the “Travel Ban” proclamation within the President’s authority under that very same Immigration and Nationality Act.

We’ll let Ruthann continue:

“Noteworthy in the majority is also its disavowal and essential overruling of Korematsu v. United States (1944), one of the so-called Japanese internment cases, and states that it is ‘wholly inapt to liken that morally repugnant order [in Korematsu] to a facially neutral policy denying certain foreign nationals the privilege of admission.’

“Four Justices dissented.  The dissenting opinion by Breyer,  joined by Kagan, argues that the Proclamation’s ‘elaborate system of exemptions and waivers’ points to the conclusion that ‘religious animus’ played a significant role in the Proclamation. Breyer recommended that the issue be remanded for further fact-finding, but on balance, the evidence of anti-religious bias was now sufficient to find the Proclamation unconstitutional.

“The dissenting opinion by Sotomayor, joined by Ginsburg, devotes itself entirely to the Establishment Clause issue and concludes that the Proclamation, which ‘masquerades behind a facade of national-security concerns,’ is nevertheless motivated by anti-Muslim bias and ‘runs afoul of the Establishment Clause’s guarantee of religious neutrality.’ Sotomayor’s opinion critiques the majority for providing a ‘highly abridged account’ of the President’s public statements regarding Muslims that does not ‘tell even half the story,’ and provides almost seven pages of statements, tweets, and retweets, and also notes that ‘despite several opportunities to do so, President Trump has never disavowed any of his prior statements about Islam.'”


Yes, despite almost seven pages of statements, tweets, and retweets using racist, bigoted, and xenophobic rhetoric and language, the majority did not share Sotomayor’s opinion that the Proclamation undermines religious neutrality.



Read – A summary of how the Proclamation affects Muslims and the rights you need to know you have, from CAIR. And consider following our hashtag #CUNYLAWBOOKMARKS on social media for top reads.

Follow/Subscribe – you can always find breaking news and organizing efforts on Twitter. You can subscribe to our Advocates Doing Justice list, follow us, and follow @CUNY_Clear for breaking updates on top issues facing the Muslim community. We also like updates and missives from The Marshall Project and Mother Jones

Show Up – This Saturday, June 30 March to say #FamiliesBelongTogether. You can look up the march closest to you here



CUNY Law’s Immigration Law Research Lib Guide

Constantly updated, this resource compiles primary and secondary sources as well as top immigration blogs, trending news, and more.


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