Atheists Condemn Supreme Court Decision Permitting Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

The decision was based on religious hate targeting people from a particular religion.

Multiple secular groups have protested the United States Supreme Court ruling in the Trump v. Hawaii case . In a 5-4 decision, the court has given its nod to the travel ban's third iteration brought by President Donald J. Trump. The ban prevents immigrants, visa holders, and refugees from predominantly Muslim nations like Iran, Libya, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States. The policy is also against two hard left countries, North Korea and Venezuela.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has joined the condemnation. FFRF stated the Supreme Court had adopted a “deferential standard of review” to presidential authority. The statement went further to say the proclamation does not cross any textual restriction on the authority of the president. FFRF has also demonstrated in its filed “friend of the court” brief this travel ban has violated the Establishment Clause. In its Supreme Court filing, the atheist organization pointed out the Trump administration's prior history of excluding both immigrants and those on limited stays from a few selected Muslim nations violated the United States Establishment Clause enshrined in First Amendment. This travel ban also goes against the U.S. Constitution's Article VI, prohibiting any religious test for public trust or office.

The decision by the Supreme Court, authored by John Roberts, the Chief Justice, blatantly disregarded such constitutional pillars. Roberts at first checked whether the ban was permissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and finding it was, adopted deferential review. This was done, as per the Justices, for minimal intrusion on the constitutional responsibilities of the president in the field of foreign affairs.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, the Co-President of the FFRF, commented on the decision, saying the ruling is a shocker for two reasons. The first is the United States is not an imperial presidency. It is the duty of the U.S. Supreme Court to check the unconstitutional decision of the president, which it failed to do. The second is this judgment will solidify the notion of people belonging to minority religions, or none at all, to think of themselves as secondary citizens. Dan Barker, another Co-President of FFRF, added it is “un-American” to discriminate on the grounds of religion. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the dissenting Judges, says it is clear the reason for this specific judgment is religious hatred. Larry T. Decker, the Executive Director of Secular Coalition of America, said this order asserts anti-Muslim bigotry and Christian privilege. It rebukes First Amendment principles.

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