Moustafa Bayoumi writes: The US supreme court has decided that the Trump administration’s Muslim ban can proceed in full, even as legal challenges to the ban continue. What a terrible and portentous decision not only for citizens from the banned countries but also for the very health and future our own nation.
With their short and unsigned orders, the supreme court appears now to be favoring the government’s argument, suggesting the court will rule with Trump when the legal challenges to the ban are finally heard. This may be unsurprising when considering the traditional deference the court has afforded the executive branch in matters of immigration, but it is no less infuriating.
After all, the constitution forbids discriminating on the basis of religion, and the Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of nationality and place of birth. It would be a travesty of justice to enshrine this kind of official bigotry against Muslims due to the separation of powers doctrine.
But the supreme court has made many wrongheaded decisions in the past. In Dred Scott v Sanford (1857), the court ruled that African Americans could not become citizens, further enshrining slavery into the American system.
The case of Plessy v Ferguson (1896) upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation. In Buck v Bell (1927), the court sided with eugenics (yes, eugenics!) by legally upholding the forced sterilization of people with intellectual disabilities. Fred Korematsu challenged the constitutionality of Japanese internment in Korematsu v United States (1944) and lost. Will we soon be adding the Muslim ban cases to this shameful list? [Continue reading…]