Elizabeth Reiner Platt, Director of PRPCP, has written an article with Religion Dispatches (an outlet of Rewire.News) providing analysis and reflection on the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 4th in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, “Will SCOTUS’ New Zeal for “Neutrality” Affect its Decision on the “Muslim Ban”?
The article specifically discusses the language engaged by the Justices with particular regard to the concepts of “neutrality” and “religious neutrality.” The case, of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, brought to the fore issues regarding religious liberty, individual freedom, civil rights, and debates about the interpretation of Constitutional Law.
As the Supreme Court is expected to provide a decision in the next few weeks in regards to the case of Trump v. Hawaii, the court’s engagement of language related to these issues is of key interest. At stake in Trump v. Hawaii is the constitutionality of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, more commonly referred to as the “Muslim Ban” for the ways in which it’s language has been interpreted as being indicative of bias against Muslim persons and countries with large populations of Muslim citizens.
An excerpt from the article follows below:
Of course the elephant in the courtroom is not how the Court’s repeated emphasis on religious neutrality squares with its past decisions, but how it will affect the other most important religion case this term—Trump v. Hawaii, the challenge to President Trump’s “Muslim ban.” In Masterpiece, the Court explained that “Factors relevant to the assessment of governmental neutrality include… the specific series of events leading to the enactment or official policy in question, and the legislative or administrative history, including contemporaneous statements made by members of the decisionmaking body.’” But it remains to be seen whether the Court will choose to engage in the same rigorous assessment of these factors in the travel ban case with regard to the president’s considerable history of disparaging statements about Muslims and his call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
Elizabeth Boylan, Associate Director, Center for Gender & Sexuality Law
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