Civil and Human Rights

Victory Against Religious Discrimination in Powerful Muslim Travel Ban Ruling

WASHINGTON—On news today that the en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a ruling in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, holding that President Trump’s Muslim travel ban violates the First Amendment, Constitutional Accountability Center Chief Counsel Brianne Gorod issued the following reaction.

This ruling is an incredibly powerful vindication of the original meaning of the First Amendment. “On a fundamental level,” the court said, Trump’s Muslim travel ban “second-guesses our nation’s dedication to religious freedom and tolerance.” That is exactly right. As we explained in our brief on behalf of more than 130 Members of Congress, “The Constitution’s Religion Clauses prohibit the government from writing into law discrimination against any one set of religious believers, reflecting that ‘no sect here is superior to another.’”

The Fourth Circuit’s ruling sends a strong signal to the U.S. Supreme Court, due to hear a separate challenge to Trump’s travel ban this spring in what will be a critical test of the Court’s independence in the Trump era. As the Justices consider that case, I hope that they reflect as soundly as today’s court did on our Constitution’s vital proscription against religious discrimination.



CAC’s brief in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump:

“Trump’s new Muslim travel ban has same old problems,” Elizabeth Wydra, Seattle Times, April 14, 2017:

“Chief Justice Roberts: Will he be Trump’s friend or foe?” Richard J. Wolf, USA Today, January 19, 2017: 


Constitutional Accountability Center ( is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.