June 27, 2018
The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) is greatly disappointed by the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision yesterday upholding President Trump’s “Muslim Ban” and overturning the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Trump v. State of Hawaii. The Ninth Circuit had previously blocked Trump’s executive order banning persons from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
The State of Hawaii, and other challengers of the travel ban, had argued that Trump’s executive order exceeded his authority under immigration and constitutional law. Yet the Supreme Court upheld the ban, accepting the government’s argument that the ban was based on national security concerns, as opposed to religious discrimination against Muslims.
In a searing dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the majority’s opinion “leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ because the policy now masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns.”
As an API legal community, AABA is especially disappointed by the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments underlying the Court’s decision. AABA is concerned that the Supreme Court’s decision promotes continued racist and xenophobic attacks against Muslims, and goes against our nation’s values of inclusion, diversity, and equality. We stand by our brothers and sisters of all kinds, including the immigrant community.
“We must work harder than ever to protect our inclusive values and resist racist and ignorant laws,” said David Tsai, AABA President.
In the Hawaii decision, the Court also expressly overruled the 1944 Korematsu v. U.S. decision which had upheld the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The majority’s opinion stated that “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.’” However, AABA remains concerned that the same discriminatory rationales underlying the Korematsu decision are now being used against the Muslim community.
“History has shown that our courts have erred in the past when targeting racial groups under the guise of national protection and security,” Tsai stated. “We look forward to the day when today’s decision is added to the line of wrong rulings which are eventually made right.”
AABA has consistently opposed Trump’s series of travel ban executive orders, and also joined over 60 APA bar associations in an amicus brief supporting the preliminary injunction of Trump’s March 6, 2017 revised executive order. AABA will continue to work to oppose and resist the effects of these discriminatory travel bans.
Today, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. AABA hopes that the confirmation process for Justice Kennedy’s replacement will be fair and efficient, and that the newest Justice will uphold our nation’s Constitution and principles of equality. The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) was founded in 1976 to provide Asian American attorneys with a vehicle for the unified expression of opinions and positions on matters of concern to all Asian American attorneys. AABA also encourages and promotes the professional growth of its members, serves the Asian American and minority community, and fosters the exchange of ideas and information among its members and with the legal community at large.
With over 1,300 paid members, AABA is the largest local Asian American bar association in the country and is one of the largest minority bar associations in California, with members who are lawyers, judges, law students and others, representing the entire spectrum of political, social and legal concerns. It is active in six Bay Area counties – including San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Marin and Santa Clara.
In 2017, AABA was recognized with National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) 2017 Affiliate of the Year Award. In 2009, AABA received the California State Bar’s Diversity Award (bar association) in honor of its long history of advocating for diversity in the legal profession.