Press Release on new ruling in Muslim Ban Case, IRAP v. Trump

Contact:  Geoffrey Knox: 917 414-1749; [email protected]    


May 3, 2019 — A federal court in Maryland has rejected the Trump administration’s bid to outright dismiss IRAP v. Trump, a lawsuit challenging the president’s Muslim ban executive order that bars people from select Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang issued the ruling late yesterday.  The ruling allows the plaintiffs to continue their challenge on constitutional claims, emphasizing that the facts presented by the plaintiffs “support a conclusion that the Proclamation was issued for the illegitimate purpose of advancing fear and hatred toward Muslims and to impose a particular legal disadvantage on them." 

The ban was blocked multiple times by the courts, but was allowed to take effect after the Supreme Court ruled for the administration in another case challenging the ban. IRAP v. Trump was then remanded to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. 

Judith Tucker, President of the Middle East Studies Association, had this reaction to the ruling:

“Once again a federal court has reaffirmed what we have been saying from the very beginning —President Trump’s attempts to impose a Muslim ban violate the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution specifically prohibits actions disfavoring or condemning any religion and offers fundamental protection for all of us—including MESA members.

MESA has refused to allow any of these unconstitutional actions by the Trump administration to deter our mission as a scholarly association facilitating the free exchange of ideas.  That is why we have been fighting these bans in the courts and will continue to do so.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Maryland, and National Immigration Law Center brought the challenge on behalf of HIAS, the International Refugee Assistance Project, the Middle East Studies Association, Yemeni American Merchants Association, and the Arab American Association of New York.

The ruling can be found at the ACLU site.

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) is a non-profit association that fosters the study of the Middle East, promotes high standards of scholarship and teaching, and encourages public understanding of the region and its peoples through programs, publications and services that enhance education, further intellectual exchange, recognize professional distinction, and defend academic freedom in accordance with its status as a 501(c), (3) scientific, educational, literary, and charitable organization.


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