Trump, Vindicated

The American president campaigned on racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic promises. It’s taken him three executive orders to try to carry them out.

If it’s a sin, Franklin Roosevelt committed the same one. Donald Trump can breathe easy — with this comparison, he was vindicated. The Supreme Court has upheld the “Muslim Ban,” which prohibits citizens from five Muslim countries, even those related to Americans, from entering the country. This White House executive order, made in the name of national security, is similar to one from 1942 which confined some 120,000 citizens of Japanese origin in concentration camps, also on the grounds of national security, and which was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1944 in a controversial ruling known as Korematsu v. United States.

The wartime internment of these citizens, discriminated against on the basis of their ethnic origin, was despicable. But the ruling from the highest constitutional authority was even more so. That was the opinion of the justice who dissented in 1944, and it’s also the opinion of the Supreme Court’s current chief justice, John Roberts, who stated, “Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and — to be clear — ‘has no place in law under the Constitution.’” In Hawaii vs. United States, the decision that now upholds the Muslim ban, the court has overturned Korematsu vs. United States. However, whatever Roberts may say — and this is the scary part — the latest decision backs Korematsu in substance.

Hispanic Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the one tasked with making this clear in her dissenting opinion, which starts with this sentence: “The United States of America is a Nation built upon the promise of religious liberty.” Yesterday’s Japanese are today’s Muslims, and the justices who endorsed a disgrace back then based on procedural issues are like the modern-day justices who gullibly accept Trump’s ploy now, certifying that the motive behind the travel ban is not the Islamic faith, but rather that these countries poorly handled IDs, the absence of criminal records regarding their citizens and the suspicion that these countries are hotbeds of terrorism.

Trump campaigned on racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic promises. It’s taken him three executive orders to try to carry them out – two were struck down by the courts. He’s never corrected nor added any nuance to what he said. Now, the Supreme Court only addresses the procedural technicalities of the latest ban, which included Venezuela and North Korea to cover up the Islamophobic nature of the decree.

This is the biggest political victory of Trump’s presidency. It backs his prejudices and his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim policies. It broadens presidential power under the cover of national security. And it sends a discriminatory message that will be applauded by populist xenophobes the world over, especially in Europe. Trump isn’t Roosevelt. And only lunatic extremists can believe that there’s a world war between Christianity and Islam that justifies discriminatory measures against a group of people considered “enemies.”

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