Amici Curiae Brief by Scholars of Mormonism Opposed to Trump’s Refugee and Immigrant Ban

By April 21, 2017

If you haven’t heard already, yesterday a host of 19 scholars submitted an Amici Curiae Brief (amici curiae=friends of the court, or impartial expert advisors) in response to President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13,780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” Trump’s Executive Order received a cascade of pushback and resistance, mainly criticizing that the order seems to target Muslims (just search the executive order in google news for a host of coverage). The Amici Curiae Brief picks up on this vein and presents the Mormon past with federal immigration policy as an example of how targeting religious minorities through immigration legislation can go horribly wrong.

The Brief tells the history of early Mormon persecution, and late nineteenth-century legal battles over polygamy to show that the government treated Mormons as “outsiders, not full members of the political community.” The argument and section titles are enough to give a sense of the Brief in its entirety:

I. The History of Religious Discrimination against Mormon Immigrants Demonstrates the Need for Vigilant Judicial Review of Government Actions based on Fear of Religious Minorities

A. Mormons Were the Objects of Widespread Religious Hostility in the 19th Century

B. Nineteenth-Century Immigration Restrictions Targeted Mormons Because of Religious Animus

C. The Effects of the Federal Government’s Targeting of Mormons Lingered for Decades

II. The First Amendment Requires Courts to Take a Hard Look at the Government’s Justifications and Motivations for Actions that Disparately Affect a Religious Group

These sections present mob violence, Joseph Smith’s murder, the 1879 Evarts Circular, 1880s legislation like the Edmunds Tucker Act, and popular religious animosity as case studies for the present. The Brief will supplement a body of resources that would oppose the passing of a Muslim-targeted immigration restriction policy.

For us, it’s amazing to see Mormon history at work. We hope to foster an avenue for discussion, questions, and comments regarding the brief and its use of Mormon history in regards to immigration. Feel free to read through the brief, and ask away!

Article filed under Announcements and Events Comparative Mormon Studies Current Events Memory Miscellaneous Politics Polygamy Public History Race


Be the first to comment.


Leave a Comment

Series

Recent Comments

Why it's time for the Mormon Church to revisit its diverse past | Wikipedia Editors on Eugenics and the Intellectual: “[…] history of shunning interracial relationships. At points, some of its leaders even flirted with theories of eugenics, or the belief that they could help…”


Tona H on Gem from the Local: “Thanks for responding on our thread, Carol! An honor to have the author join us, truly. Your body of work is an immeasurable contribution to…”


Michelle on Gem from the Local: “I grew up in upstate NY, where Mormon pop culture was pretty much non-existent. I'm not really familiar with the play, but an aunt…”


Ardis on Gem from the Local: “You know you're getting old when your young adult memories are historical artifact. More than once as I've grown older and started seriously wondering whether…”


Carol Lynn Pearson on Gem from the Local: “Hey, thanks for the memories. Glad "My Turn on Earth" lives on, as all of us do in this eternal drama of ours.”


Tona H on Gem from the Local: “Thanks for the memories, Ben and Andrew. It makes me smile that it sustained some entertainment-starved missionaries in Japan, among its many other achievements. Thanks…”

Topics


juvenileinstructor.org