aside Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer Schools Her Fellow Justices About The Real World

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On the 26th of June 2018, the US Supreme Court delivered its ruling in favor of the republican President Donald Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban ( Trump v. Hawaii) in a 5-4 decision. This was the the third version of the president’s restriction on travel from majority Muslim nations, blocking travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela.

Read the decision from the Supreme Court in Trump v. Hawaii here.

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I strongly disagree with this decision. It is important to note that the Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. commented in his writings about the US Japanese internment case where the US Supreme Court had ruled in favor Korematsu v. United States ­in 1944, which was based on an executive order by President Franklin Roosevelt. The Chief Justice took time to overturn this past ruling.

But here’s the irony. By the same logic that the Supreme Court used to justify this current ruling, these same justices would have had to rule in favor of  Korematsu v. United States.

See: Facts and Case Summary — Korematsu v. U.S. | United States Courts

See: C-SPAN Landmark Cases | Korematsu v United States

This is the reality that the Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor schooled her fellow justices about as she read out loud her dissension from the majority ruling.

See: Read Sonia Sotomayor’s Travel Ban Dissent/ Bustle 

See: Justice Sotomayor’s dissent in the Trump Muslim ban case/ DailyKos.

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 22: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor receives the Leadership Award during the 29th Hispanic Heritage Awards at the Warner Theatre on September 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)

Here is the rest of the story… 

On June 26, 2018, Catie Edmondson of the New York Times penned the following report, “Sonia Sotomayor Delivers Fiery Dissent in Travel Ban Case”

“Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., reading for the majority on Tuesday morning, spoke clinically. Justice Stephen G. Breyer followed, working his way through his dissent mildly and analytically.”

Then it was Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s turn.

Steely and unwavering, she began: “The United States of America is a nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment.”

Allison Shelley/Getty Images

The crowded courthouse fell silent.

In upholding President Trump’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, Justice Sotomayor continued, the Supreme Court had failed to “safeguard that fundamental principle.”

“For the next 20 minutes, she remained resolute as she delivered an extraordinarily scorching dissent, skewering the court’s decision and condemning the ban as “harrowing” and “motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith.”

“The remarkable dissent was delivered by a woman who has championed her own upbringing as an example of the American dream. Justice Sotomayor, whose parents moved from Puerto Rico during World War II, was raised in a housing project in the Bronx. Her father did not speak English and her first language was Spanish. But determined to become a judge, she would go on to attend Princeton University and become the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice.”

Allison Shelley/Getty Images

“Justice Sotomayor once said that “personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.” She again drew upon that idea in her dissent on Tuesday, in which she accused the majority of “ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens.”

“That was the crux of the Justice Sotomayor’s damning conclusion: The president’s ban is “inexplicable by anything but animus,” and to argue anything else is to divorce oneself from the facts.”


“Justice Sotomayor chose her words carefully and sharply, at one point charging that Mr. Trump’s policy “now masquerades behind a facade of national security concerns.”

“But one of her most striking decisions was to repeat the words of the president himself. Citing more than a dozen instances in which Mr. Trump tweeted or issued anti-Muslim sentiments, it was his words, not her own, that rang out from the bench.”

“She continued down the list for minutes.”

“On Dec. 21, 2016, President-elect Trump was asked whether he would ‘rethink’ his previous ‘plans to create a Muslim registry or ban Muslim immigration,’” Justice Sotomayor said. “He replied: ‘You know my plans. All along, I’ve proven to be right.’”

Rachel Maddow looks back at how the infamous Supreme Court decision in the Korematsu case was eventually exposed as a sham when the truth behind the government's reasoning was exposed, and reads Justice Sotomayor's descent in the Trump Muslim ban case which points out that the animus behind Trump's policy doesn't have to be exposed because he tweeted it.

“‘People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!’” she read, recounting the president’s 2017 tweet.”

“Islam hates us,” she read, citing another example, and added another: “We’re having problems with Muslims coming into the country.”

“The conservative justices, staring unblinkingly ahead, remained stone-faced.”

“She continued that Mr. Trump had never disavowed any of his statements regarding Islam, and thus had failed “to correct the reasonable perception of his apparent hostility toward the Islamic faith.”

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In another powerful passage, Justice Sotomayor drew parallels between the decision and Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 ruling that upheld the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

“As here, the government invoked an ill-defined national security threat to justify an exclusionary policy of sweeping proportion,” she said. “As here, the exclusion was rooted in dangerous stereotypes about, inter alia, a particular group’s supposed inability to assimilate and desire to harm the United States.”

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“Justice Sotomayor continued that “our nation has done much to leave its sordid legacy behind” in the years since Korematsu. But, she reasoned, “it does not make the majority’s decision here acceptable or right.”

“By blindly accepting the government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward a disfavored group, all in the name of a superficial claim of national security,” she said, “the court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu and merely replaces one ‘gravely wrong’ decision with another.”


  1. And just two weeks ago they ruled in favor of the anti-gay cake maker because the Colorado Commission on Human Rights didn’t respond sensitively to the Freedom of Religion aspects. So the US only has to be sensitive to Freedom of Religion when it involves Christianity and discriminating against gay people, otherwise forget about it.

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  2. Dear Ckatsarelis,

    You get the irony. They listened and placed weight on someone’s comments when it came to deciding in favor of the wedding case where the baker refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, but not in this HAWAII VS Trump case (Muslim travel ban case) when there were volumes of quotes by the president demonstrating his Muslim bias.

    The US Supreme Court will come to look upon this ruling with shame. It was not one of its finest moments.

    Hugs, Gronda


    • Dear John Fioravanti,

      The president and his republican cronies in the US Congress and elsewhere are not conservatives. I can list prominent conservatives who are “Never Trumpers” but they don’t suffer from racism and they like to deal with facts.

      No true conservative would have signed off on a tax cuts bill being paid in part by adding to the US deficit, nor would they have approved a huge spending bill. Nor would they have tolerated President Trump kissing up to President Putin or dishing our allies. They would not be thrashing the rule of law, the DOJ and the FBI. There would not be tariffs against our neighbors and allies.Whoever is living in the White House or working in the US Congress cannot claim the mantle of conservatism. They can claim to be part of Trump’s Republican Party.

      Many of them have left the republican party and have registered themselves as independent voters. A couple are even writing books about this. Max Boot has tweeted that his book will be out this Fall.

      This is the republican party of President Trump which consists of White Evangelical Christians, the anti-immigration crowd, the racists, the rich guys who cared mostly about getting their tax cuts, and some who just want to believe what he says.

      Hugs, Gronda


        • Dear John Fioravanti,

          It’s easy to be confused as the republicans in the US Congress claim to be conservatives but that is “fake news.” One cannot support President Trump’s policies but still claim to be a conservative.

          Hugs, Gronda


  3. I often cite the separation of powers within the US system as being a bulwark against tyranny and injustice. This ruling saddened me greatly.
    I feel more sorry for the USA than our own UK and the Brexit woo-haa (which is historically, business as usual in our history)

    Liked by 1 person

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