Today, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 opinion in Trump v. Hawaii that Hawaii was not entitled to stop President Trump’s order banning most of the 180 million nationals from a number of predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States. In so doing, the majority of the Court deferred to the Government’s stated concerns about national security and refused to consider President Trump’s repeated statements revealing anti-Muslim bias as part of its legal analysis.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an amicus brief opposing the Trump Administration’s discriminatory executive order, and urging the Court to recognize that it was premised on the same kinds of harmful stereotypes that had been used to justify the most horrific chapters in our history, including the enslavement of Black Americans for centuries and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The majority paid lip service to those principles by overruling its 1944 decision in Korematsu v. United States, which had upheld the Japanese-American internment. However, as Justice Sotomayor explained in dissent: “By blindly accepting the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy . . . in the name of a superficial claim of national security, the Court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu.”
“Today’s decision is at war with our nation’s core values,” said Sam Spital, LDF’s Director of Litigation. “The highest court in the land turned its back on the Constitution in favor of a policy that punishes people not for what they do, but for who they are.”
“Today is a dark day for democracy, the rule of law, and the United States Supreme Court,” said Ajmel Quereshi, LDF Senior Counsel. “This disappointing decision to uphold the Muslim Ban sets a dangerous precedent for discrimination based on racial, ethnic, and religious stereotypes. We are reminded again that Muslims do not have equal rights in the United States.”
“By the reasoning of the majority’s opinion, so long as the President uses the magic words ‘national security’ the Court will not probe further even when clear and compelling facts suggest that discrimination lies at the core of the President’s action,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s President and Director-Counsel. “One day a Supreme Court will say of this decision what the Court says about Korematsu today: the decision ‘was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and . . . has no place under the Constitution.’”
LDF will continue to work with partners and advocates to protect equality under the law.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multidisciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.