Trump v. Hawaii: Constitutional, Moral, and Ethical Dimensions

May 16, 2018

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Trump v. Hawaii: Constitutional, Moral, and Ethical Dimensions

On Wednesday, April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Trump v. Hawaii case, in which the State of Hawaii is leading a challenge to an executive order preventing most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, as well as certain visitors from North Korea and Venezuela from entering the United States. The Trump administration has argued that there are legitimate national security grounds for these restrictions, while critics argue that such widespread restrictions are religiously discriminatory (an assumption based largely on Trump’s own campaign calls for a Muslim ban). Yet, while several amicus briefs in opposition have been filed by religious groups from the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions (both Catholic and Protestant), other religiously affiliated groups have filed with no position on the order.

This week the Berkley Forum asks: To what extent are questions of religious liberty at the heart of this particular case? What are the national security concerns at play, and do they overshadow the moral and political issues of what lower courts have construed as an attempted ban on Muslims by proxy of country of origin (based on President Trump’s own campaign rhetoric)? How are religious liberty groups positioning themselves on this issue (for example, in filed amicus briefs or by not filing at all), and why?

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