Liberals, activists decry Supreme Court’s travel ban ruling

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BROOKLYN -

A number of Brooklyn's elected officials said they were disappointed Tuesday after the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision along party lines to uphold President Donald Trump's travel ban.

Most travelers from seven countries will no longer be able to enter the United States. Five of them have predominantly Muslim populations: Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen and Somalia. The other two are North Korea and Venezuela.

Humans rights groups are also criticizing the decision, as is the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Residents held a protest in Foley Square Tuesday night in protest of the decision.

"What we believe is that given the president's statements -- given his statements on television, his tweets, his public advocacy -- that this was a Muslim ban," said Albert Fox Cahn, the legal director of CAIR-NY.

But Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority decision, said the ban falls within the scope of presidential authority -- and that it does not discriminate against Muslims.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a Brooklyn native, wrote the dissenting opinion along with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is from the Bronx. They argued that the travel ban violates the First Amendment by failing to uphold religious liberty -- and that a reasonable observer would conclude that the ban would be considered anti-Muslim.

Jerry Kassar, the chairman of the Kings County Conservative Party, told News 12 over the phone that the ruling was in line with the power past presidents wielded over immigration issues.

"Since the nation was formed, the president has logically had the power to influence immigration issues and international security issues," he said. "The Supreme Court simply upheld a longstanding tradition."

He also said that such authority should always rest in the hands of a sitting president, regardless of who it is.

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