Our Response to the Supreme Court's Decision on the Muslim Travel Ban

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision to uphold President Trump’s order prohibiting citizens of several predominantly Muslim countries from travel into the United States. But even as the Court’s conservative majority upheld the discriminatory travel ban, Chief Justice Roberts took the opportunity to finally overturn Korematsu v. United States, the shameful 1944 Supreme Court decision that allowed the incarceration of Japanese Americans under the pretense of national security.

The Korematsu decision was wrong when it was decided for the same reasons that President Trump’s travel ban, for all its modifications and revisions, remains wrong today.

As Justice Sotomayor wrote in her dissent, “By blindly accepting the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward a disfavored group, all in the name of a superficial claim of national security, the Court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu and merely replaces one “gravely wrong” decision with another.”

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights has long fought to defend people of all ethnicities and faiths from unfair treatment, systemic discrimination, and hate. Last year, we signed onto amicus briefs in two cases - Trump v. Hawaii and Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project - that challenged the travel ban for promoting anti-Muslim discrimination by singling out those born in the targeted majority-Muslim countries. 

We are saddened by the human damage that yesterday’s decision will undoubtedly incur on already marginalized communities. We join advocates across the nation in decrying the court’s decision in this case. We stand in solidarity with Muslim community members, who compose many of our clients, donors, and partners, during these dark and challenging times.  And we remain vigilant going forward, fully aware that President Trump has often expressed both animus and the desire to target and scapegoat people of different faiths, races, and ethnicities across the world and here in the United States. We hope this setback dealt by the Court will be a rallying cry for all of us who are engaged in the fight for racial equity and economic opportunity on this country’s shores.