Q: Did the U.S. Supreme Court uphold a law banning Muslims from serving in government?
A: No. There is no such law. Two Muslims currently serve in the U.S. Congress.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion, and there is no federal law that would keep people of the Islamic faith from serving in public office.
But a bogus story claiming that the Supreme Court has upheld a 1952 law that “disallowed Muslims from participating in American government” has been shared on Facebook thousands of times. Users of the social media website flagged the story as potentially false.
The fake story was originally published in early November on a website called America’s Last Line of Defense, which describes itself as satirical and has a disclaimer that says, “Everything on this website is fiction.” That site has since taken down the story, but it already had been picked up and posted by more than a dozen other sites that have no such disclaimer.
None of the Supreme Court’s recent opinions have anything to do with religious law, and the story never names the law that it claims the Supreme Court upheld. It also says that the court will hear “the full case” in 2018, but there is no such case on the court’s calendar.
The story also claims that one U.S. senator, one governor, and two congressmen have been Muslim. Only the latter part is true.
Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana are Muslim. However, the Senate Historical Office told us that no Muslim has ever served in the Senate. Nor has a Muslim served as governor of a state.
“The Bill of Rights: A Transcription.” National Archives. Accessed 2 Jan 2018.
“BREAKING: SCOTUS Upholds 1952 Law Outlawing Islam In Government.” Dailydailynews.info. 29 Dec 2017.
U.S. Supreme Court. Opinions of the court, 2017. Accessed 2 Jan 2018.
Sandstrom, Aleksandra. “Faith on the Hill.” Pew Research Center. 3 Jan 2017.
Barabak, Mark. “Michigan helped make Donald Trump president. Is it ready to elect the nation’s first Muslim governor?” Los Angeles Times. 10 Oct 2017.
Cebula, Judith. “Second Muslim elected to Congress.” Reuters. 11 Mar 2008.
“Minnesota voters send first Muslim to Capitol Hill.” CNN. 8 Nov 2006.
U.S. Senate Historical Office. Interview with FactCheck.org. 3 Jan 2017.