Thursday, June 28, 2018
I've posted a piece at America critiquing the travel-ban decision. A bit:
[T]here was room in [the immigration] precedents for the court to write a narrow opinion focusing on Mr. Trump’s uniquely blatant and irresponsible statements that suggested his intent as the sole decision-maker. True, such a ruling would have to have been narrow, to keep from setting a precedent for serious intrusions on executive authority in future cases.
But the risks from such an opinion would have been worth taking. The president’s statements were virtually unprecedented in modern times in explicitly labeling all members of a religion a danger to the nation....
And the consequences of the statements extend [beyond those directly connected to immigrant applicants], poisoning the culture in the country for Muslims already here. Reports of anti-Muslim vandalism and other crimes have spiked in the wake of Mr. Trump’s statements.
The consequences are also harmful for religious freedom as a general principle. Republican support of Mr. Trump’s hostility to Muslims from the beginning (one March 2016 poll showed that 71 percent of Republican voters backed a temporary “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States) has helped accelerate the perception that religious freedom is nothing more than a tool for each side to use or discard according to what supports its preferred policy positions. Progressives are selective, too, in denigrating the religious freedom of social conservatives. To preserve religious freedom as a principle, not a tool, we must enforce it for all.
Among the sources of comfort:
[G]iven the court majority’s clear emphasis on the immigration context, we can have reasonable confidence that courts will still act decisively to forbid official animus against Muslims in domestic matters: hostile local resistance to mosques, officials’ attacks on copies of the Quran and so forth. The travel ban decision specifically endorses, and must not be read to undermine, that bedrock principle.