Written by Don Byrd

The Supreme Court today announced it will hold oral arguments in Trump v. Hawaii on April 25. The case involves a constitutional challenge to President Trump’s most recent order, his third attempt at a “travel ban” restricting immigration from certain countries. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found the latest action exceeded the president’s authority, and so did not find it necessary to address claims that it violates the separation of church and state. Notably, however, the Supreme Court has asked the parties to address the Establishment Clause question in their briefs.

Subsequently, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, hearing a different challenge to the third travel ban, ruled it unconstitutional on those religious liberty grounds the 9th Circuit declined to address. Finding the policy is motivated by the President Trump’s religious animus toward Muslims, the 4th Circuit held it to be discriminatory in violation of the First Amendment. You can read extended quotes from the 4th Circuit’s ruling here.

With so many potential issues to address, the Supreme Court scheduled no other hearings for April 25. It remains to be seen which claims against the president’s order will be their focus.

Previous incarnations of the travel ban have been ruled unlawful by multiple courts across the country, some citing religious discrimination. Those courts have pointed to President Trump’s prior statements as evidence of discriminatory intent, including his proposal as a candidate to temporarily “ban all Muslims from entering” the United States.

You can read about the travel ban suits, the church-state rulings, and the BJC’s positions, in previous blog posts, outlined below.

Feb. 17, 2018: 4th Circuit: Third Trump Travel Ban Violates Establishment Clause
Jan. 20, 2018: U.S. Supreme Court Requests Briefing on Church-State Issue in Travel Ban Challenge
Oct. 11, 2017: Supreme Court Dismisses “Expired” Travel Ban Case
Sept. 26, 2017: Supreme Court Cancels Travel Ban Hearing After New White House Proclamation
August 14, 2017: White House Argues to SCOTUS: Travel Ban is Not About Religion
June 26, 2017: BJC Responds to Supreme Court Decision to Review Travel Ban
May 26, 2017: 4th Circuit Upholds Decision Halting Revised Executive Order
March 15, 2017: Federal Judge Halts Revised Immigration Executive Order on Religious Liberty Grounds
March 6, 2017: BJC: New Trump Order Removes Troubling Religious Preference, but Concerns Remain
February 14, 2017: Federal Judge in Virginia Judge Halts Executive Order on Establishment Clause Grounds
January 28, 2017: Multi-Faith Coalition including BJC Issues Statement After Troubling Immigration Order
January 27, 2017: BJC’s Amanda Tyler: Trump Executive Order on Immigration a “Back-Door Bar on Muslim Refugees”