Lofgren Statement on the Supreme Court Decision on Trump’s Muslim Ban

June 26, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court decision to uphold President Trump’s travel ban. Lofgren and U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) led the amici curiae brief signed by Members of Congress in support of Hawaii’s lawsuit challenging the President’s proclamation banning travel to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries.

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. Hawaii will be remembered as a stain on our nation’s history.  The Court ruled that the text of the travel ban was not discriminatory, and that the Administration had legitimate national security reasons to implement the ban. The Court weighed heavily in favor of Presidential deference but failed to adequately consider the extensive number of discriminatory statements made by Donald Trump as a candidate and as President.  This reasoning is fundamentally flawed. 

“First, the Constitution requires us to examine not just the text of a law, but the intent of the law.  In this case, President Trump and his advisors repeatedly stated it was their intention to implement a travel ban prohibiting Muslims from entering the country.  In their dissent, Judges Sotomayor and Ginsberg recount in painstaking detail the Anti-Muslim statements made by Candidate Trump, President Trump and members of his administration.  None of these comments have ever been disavowed by Trump or his Administration. 

“Second, the Administration’s national security reasoning in enacting the travel ban is flimsy at best. The Administration’s ‘worldwide review’ of national security threats consisted of only 17 pages.  Moreover, former national security officials from both parties filed an amicus brief explaining that the travel ban does ‘not advance the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States, and in fact do[es] serious harm to those interests.’ 

“Lastly, the Court relied on the existence of a waiver as a reason why the travel ban was not overly restrictive.  But dissenting Judges Breyer and Kagan explain that very few waivers have actually been granted, even for those clearly eligible while the Administration has failed to provide any guidance to consular officials.  In their dissent, Judges Sotomayor and Ginsberg state plainly, the “waiver program is nothing more than a sham.”

“The one bright spot in an otherwise terrible decision was the Court’s decision to explicitly overrule Korematsu v. United States (1944), finding that an Executive Order forcing Japanese Americans into internment camps was unconstitutional and not necessary to protect national security.   But the irony of overruling Korematsu while also upholding a discriminatory travel ban is not lost on anyone.  I agree with Judges Sotomayor and Ginsberg who concluded that this decision “merely replaces one ‘gravely wrong’ decision with another.” 

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