“When you have a voice, you also have a moral obligation to use that voice for good.”
When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the controversial Muslim ban in its Hawaii vs. Trump ruling this week, like many political observers, I was disappointed but not surprised with the decision considering the conservative-leaning bias of the court.
As I read the court’s majority opinion, my mind screamed words written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his letter from a Birmingham Jail in 1963 which reads in part, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
There is no question—in my mind at least—that this travel ban is unjust. Unjust, yes, but the U.S. Supreme Court has now upheld it. I believe it was wrongly decided but rendering such questionable decisions are neither unusual nor aberrant for the U.S. Supreme Court.
For example, in 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court determined in the infamous Dred Scott Decision that African-Americans were not citizens of the United States, and therefore they had no right to appeal to the courts for injunctive relief.
In 1927, by an eight to one ruling in the case Buck v. Bell, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Eugenics’ driven effort that legalized the forced sterilization of thousands of poor, mentally disabled and minority Americans.
In 1944 case Korematsu v. United States, the court upheld the forced internment of thousand of Japanese Americans. And in 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated major parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act despite ongoing efforts by conservatives to undermine the voting rights of minorities.
These are just a few examples of how, in my opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court has managed to get it wrong again and again throughout history.
Regarding the Muslim Ban decision this week, the Court chose to disregard the president’s relentless hate speech toward Muslims and instead opened the gates for him to perpetrate even more grievous acts against our neighbors in the world and citizens of this nation under the cover of “national” security.
History has shown me, as in the examples cited here, that the U.S. Supreme Court has a penchant for getting it wrong sometimes, as I believe it did again in Hawaii v. Trump. In her dissent from the majority ruling in this case, Justice Sotomayor stated what I and so many others believe regarding the real impetus for the travel ban—that it was, “motivated by animosity toward a disfavored group.”
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door, I wonder who will be the next disfavored group? Yet, as with the cases cited above, such bad decisions do not have to last forever. As a nation, we have the power to create the change we want to see. I’m ready to get to work. Are you?
This is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.