The Muslim Ban and Separation of Powers Doctrine in Trump's America
State, Religion and Muslims: Between Discrimination and Protection at the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Levels, Brill Academic Publishers, Forthcoming
21 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2018 Last revised: 29 Apr 2018
Date Written: January 8, 2018
Donald J. Trump’s ascension to the White House is arguably the most consequential development for religious freedom in contemporary America – particularly as it relates to Muslims. The 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle exacerbated already worsening anti-Muslim sentiment across the country. Then Republican presidential candidate Trump specifically ran a campaign that exploited national divisions, animosities and anxieties surrounding Islam and Muslims. Significantly, on December 7, 2015, Mr. Trump unveiled his infamous Muslim ban. In the aftermath of a tragic mass shooting at a disability center by a Muslim couple in San Bernardino, California, Mr. Trump released a written campaign statement that called for “… a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.” Now in the White House, President Trump has persisted in exploiting those same divisions around religion. As he delivers on campaign promises, like the Muslim ban currently characterized as a “travel ban,” such discriminatory laws, practices and policies have broader social, political and economic ramifications. However, President Trump does not enjoy unfettered authority even in the Oval Office. The Separation of Powers doctrine, U.S. Constitution and rule of law remain substantial checks in a federalist system. From adjudicating constitutional challenges to the Muslim ban to introducing legislative measures to defund it, the other branches of state and federal government are engaged in dialogue with President Trump about the limits on the executive and, arguably, the place of Muslims in America. This book chapter examines this extraordinary dialectic at the intersection of law, politics and religion.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Establishment Clause, Religious Freedom, Separation of Powers, Muslim ban, Executive Order, Islamophobia
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