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ACLU previews potential lawsuit against Trump's Muslim registry

ACLU previews potential lawsuit against Trump's Muslim registry
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The incoming legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says any proposal from President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE to create a registry for Muslims is unconstitutional.

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“When executive action is challenged as targeting religion, the critical question is intent: If the government can be shown to have intentionally targeted a religious group, its actions violate the Free Exercise Clause,” David Cole wrote in a post on the ACLU website. “The law need not name the religion by name.”

Trump made waves during the Republican primary campaign when he called for a temporary “shutdown” of all Muslim immigration to the United States. More recently, reports have indicated that the incoming administration would instead focus on people coming to the U.S. from specific regions.

Trump’s campaign has denied any plans for a Muslim registry.

"President-elect Trump has never advocated for any registry or system that tracks individuals based on their religion, and to imply otherwise is completely false, communications adviser Jason Miller told CNN last week.

Cole argued that the Trump campaign’s denial of a potential registry is “semantics.”

“The transition team is reportedly planning just that, only under the guise of focusing on countries that happen to be majority Muslim,” Cole said.

He reasoned that Trump’s rhetoric on Muslim immigration demonstrated intent to target the Muslim faith, explaining that “the Supreme Court has ruled that circumstantial evidence can support a finding of unconstitutional intent.”