'A marker of shame': Democratic lawmakers rip Supreme Court's travel ban decision

Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday tore into the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s controversial travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries.

Among them: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim ever elected to Congress.

“Today’s decision undermines the core value of religious tolerance on which America was founded,” Ellison said in a statement shortly after the ruling came down. “I am deeply disappointed that this ruling gives legitimacy to discrimination and Islamophobia.”

In the 5-4 decision, the court’s five more conservative justices voted to reject a constitutional challenge to the third version of the ban, which Trump issued in September. During his 2016 presidential bid, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the United States. That proposal subsequently evolved into a vague promise of “extreme vetting.”

Earlier versions of ban restricted immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The latest iteration revised the list to include North Korea and Venezuela.

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Protests against Trump's proposed travel ban
People protest U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington, U.S. May 15, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
A man holds an umbrella during a protest of U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington, U.S. May 15, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
A protester from Amnesty International rallies against U.S. President Donald Trump's new executive order temporarily banning the entry of refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries in Sydney, Australia, March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed
Demonstrator protests against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban outside the offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
A woman protests against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington, U.S. May 15, 2017. REUTERS/David Ryder
Chrissy Pearce protests outside the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse in San Francisco, California February 7, 2017, ahead of the Court hearing arguments regarding President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries. REUTERS/Noah Berger
Demonstrators protest against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban outside the offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Demonstrators protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's revised travel ban outside the offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Protestors rally in front of the Trump Building on Wall Street during a protest against the Trump administration's proposed travel ban and refugee policies, March 28, 2017 in New York City. The Trump administration's proposed travel ban includes a provision that would bar refugees entry into the United States for 120 days. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Protestors place photographs of refugees in rafts in front of the Trump Building on Wall Street during a protest against the Trump administration's proposed travel ban and refugee policies, March 28, 2017 in New York City. The Trump administration's proposed travel ban includes a provision that would bar refugees entry into the United States for 120 days. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 16: Demonstrators protest outside the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on March 16, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were protesting the revised travel ban that the administration of President Donald Trump was trying to implement. The ban, which would restrict travel from six predominantly Muslim countries, was supposed to be instituted today but was halted yesterday by a federal judge in Hawaii. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Demonstrators gather near The White House to protest President Donald Trump's travel ban on six Muslim countries on March 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Tasos Katopodis (Photo credit should read TASOS KATOPODIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators gather near The White House to protest President Donald Trump's travel ban on six Muslim countries on March 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Tasos Katopodis (Photo credit should read TASOS KATOPODIS/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 3: Protestors write messages directed toward President Donald Trump on lanterns near the Washington Monument, February 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. The protest is aimed at President Trump's travel ban policy. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters with banners and placards march through central London during a demonstration against U.S. President Donald Trump on February 4, 2017 in London, England. Thousands of protesters march from the U.S. Embassy in London to Downing Street today against President Trump's executive order banning immigration to the USA from seven Muslim countries. (Photo by Jay Shaw Baker/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 29: Linda Sarsour attends a rally to protest the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries in New York City on January 29, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 03: Demonstrators protest against US President Donald Trump's ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the US on February 3, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The demonstrators are protesting against United States President Donald Trump's travel ban affecting citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Rosalie Gurna, 9, holds a sign in support of Muslim family members as people protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban on Muslim majority countries, at the International terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People protest against President Donald Trump's travel ban in New York City, U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Demonstrators participate in a protest by the Yemeni community against U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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“America holds a unique place in the world as a nation of immigrants,” Ellison continued. “Unlike some other countries, we welcome refugees, asylum seekers, and dreamers fleeing war and instability in other parts of the world. America is and must remain the ‘land of the free’ where the family escaping authoritarianism in persecution in North Korea can seek shelter and thrive.”

Ellison compared the court’s ruling to the 1944 Korematsu decision that backed the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling that upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation laws.

“Today’s ruling is unjust,” Ellison said. “Like the Korematsu decision that upheld Japanese internment camps or Plessy v. Ferguson that established ‘separate but equal,’ this decision will someday serve as a marker of shame. Until then, we must keep fighting for an America that recognizes that every human life has value and reflects our values of generosity and inclusion for all.”

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., added to that list the court’s 2013 decision to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act (Shelby County v. Holder), as well as the 1857 Dred Scott decision that no black person — free or slave — could claim U.S. citizenship.

“Shelby, Korematsu, Dred Scott, and now, Trump v. Hawaii,” Johnson tweeted. “Today’s decision joins a line of rulings history will look back on in shame.”

Trump, of course, expressed no such shame, calling Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling a “tremendous victory” and “a moment of profound vindication” for his immigration policies:

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution. The Supreme Court has upheld the clear authority of the President to defend the national security of the United States. In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country. This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country. As long as I am President, I will defend the sovereignty, safety, and security of the American People, and fight for an immigration system that serves the national interests of the United States and its citizens. Our country will always be safe, secure, and protected on my watch.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., decried the ruling.

“The president’s travel ban doesn’t make us safer, and the Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t make it right,” Schumer tweeted. “This is a backward and un-American policy that fails to improve our national security.”

Schumer’s counterpart in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed.

“The Supreme Court’s dangerous decision in Hawaii v. Trump undermines our values, our security, & our Constitution,” Pelosi tweeted. “No matter how many times @realDonaldTrump rewrites his #MuslimBan, it remains one of the great injustices of our time.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was equally appalled.

“The Supreme Court today sided with fear, racism and xenophobia and against the American ideals of religious freedom and tolerance,” Sanders said. “The Trump administration’s travel ban was never about keeping America safe. We need only look at Trump’s own words to understand that this has always been a racist and anti-Islamic attempt to ban Muslims from entering this country.”

He added: “America loses when we become divided by religion, race, national origin or sexual orientation. We are stronger when we come together.”

In an interview with CNN, Ellison bemoaned the actions of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, Merrick Garland, ultimately paving the way for the Trump’s pick, Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch’s confirmation, in April 2017, gave conservatives a majority in the Supreme Court.

Shortly after Tuesday’s ruling, McConnell’s office tweeted a photo of the Kentucky senator meeting with Gorsuch.

 

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