Supreme Court “Playing Dumb” by Ignoring Religious Bigotry of Muslim Ban

For Immediate Release: June 26, 2018
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director - (207) 358-9785


In upholding President Trump’s ban on travelers from certain Muslim-majority nations today, the Supreme Court’s majority is willfully ignoring the obvious xenophobic, anti-Muslim hostility upon which the ban was based, said the Center for Inquiry. An organization that advances reason, science, and secularism, CFI has staunchly opposed the president’s Muslim ban since its earliest inception for its basis in religious bigotry.

Ruling on the case of Trump v. Hawaii, in a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court declared that the president has the authority to prohibit travelers from select countries to enter the U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, asserted that the travel ban did not unconstitutionally discriminate against Muslims because “the text says nothing about religion.”

“This ban is about religious discrimination, and to claim otherwise is completely absurd,” said Nick Little, CFI’s Vice President and General Counsel. “As far back as 2015, Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to see Muslims banned from the United States, and promised to carry out this ban once in office. He followed through, and the Supreme Court, unconscionably, is letting him get away with it.”

“Chief Justice Roberts is a brilliant man who is playing dumb,” added Little. “He knows very well that this is not about other countries’ vetting processes or the scope of presidential authority. This is about fomenting fear of Muslims.”

CFI, which fights for freedom of expression around the world, has defended the rights not only of the nonreligious, but of persecuted Christians, Muslims, and all other groups whose rights to free expression and belief are threatened. Immigration policy should seek to help those facing persecution for their atheism or religious belief. It must not impose blanket bans and exclusions on individuals based on their creed.

In 2015, when Trump and other Republican candidates for president espoused giving preference to Christian refugees from Syria at the expense of ignoring all other endangered peoples, CFI declared, “Such religious discrimination would be a pernicious, cowardly betrayal of both the secular principles of the United States, and the humanist values we at the Center for Inquiry fight to uphold, both in the United States and worldwide.”

As Trump took office and first implemented the Muslim ban, CFI fervently protested, characterizing it as “an outrageous act of cruelty.”

“The fight to reverse this outrageous ban is not over,” promised Little. “Secular and religious communities alike must and will stand together to oppose religious bigotry and discrimination, especially when it emanates from the White House itself.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at