NEW YORK—Today’s Supreme Court decision is a blow to cultural, intellectual​, and artistic ​discourse​ and a rejection of America’s commitment to open exchange, said PEN America today.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s executive order to restrict the entry of nationals from seven countries—Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Venezuela—five  of which are predominantly Muslim. President Trump had implemented a previous version of the ban days into his presidency, after campaigning on his pledge for a “total and complete shutdown of all Muslims entering the United States.”

“Readers​, writers,​ ​and students ​everywhere ​will lose out as a result of today’s decision,” said PEN America Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel. “​Open discourse, including the right to in-person exchange, is protected by the First Amendment and is a potent ​​catalyst for cross-cultural​​ understanding, international cooperation, and global progress. Coming amid a climate of retrenchment in principled American leadership both around the world and within our own borders, the Supreme Court’s decision hands victory to the forces of reaction, exclusion and fear that would undercut our most treasured values. Today’s decision, affirming prejudice and erecting boundaries, sullies the United States’ reputation as a standard-bearer for the free and open exchange of ideas.”

PEN America, leading a group of more than 30 major cultural organizations across the United States, had filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Supreme Court to find the executive order unconstitutional, noting that the executive order “upends our deeply American commitment to the free and fearless exchange of ideas” and impermissibly burdened citizens’ First Amendment right to receive information.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator: [email protected]