Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
An entirely different standard governs the constitutionality of a President's
national security directive regulating the entry of aliens abroad that is
facially neutral toward religion, as the Court held in Trump v. Hawaii. 1 The plaintiffs in that case sought a preliminary injunction against a presidential proclamation that suspended or restricted the entry of foreign nationals from specified countries, arguing, in relevant part, that the proclamation
was issued for the unconstitutional purpose of excluding Muslims. 2 While the text of the document was facially neutral, restricting entry on the basis of national origin, the plaintiffs highlighted
a series of statements by the President and his advisors suggesting that the President had intended to target immigration of Muslims. 3 The Court held that the proper standard to evaluate this Establishment Clause claim was the
circumscribed judicial inquiry prescribed
when the denial of a visa allegedly burdens the constitutional rights of a U. S. citizen. 4 Under this standard, the Court would consider
whether the entry policy [was] plausibly related to the Government's stated objective to protect the country and improve vetting processes, and the plaintiffs'
extrinsic evidence would not render the policy unconstitutional
so long as [the policy could] reasonably be understood to result from a justification independent of unconstitutional grounds. 5 Under this lenient standard, the Court upheld the proclamation, concluding that the plaintiffs had
not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional claim. 6