I’m concerned about overreaching judges. No matter your political beliefs, you should be too.
You know the story: President Trump takes action on an important issue that falls mostly on his shoulders, like immigration or national security. Within minutes, left-wing activist groups file suit with a friendly judge, who then blocks the Trump administration not only in the judge’s district, but across the entire country. The administration appeals the decision ultimately all the way up to the Supreme Court, where it triumphs, but only after months or years of litigation.
The parties here could be reversed, and this would still be a travesty.
I’m not saying judges should lay down in the face of an out-of-control commander-in-chief. If the president abuses his power, the judiciary should overrule him.
But that’s not what is going on today.
We know this since President Trump keeps winning at the Supreme Court. It would seem then that federal judges in lower courts are abusing their own power by blocking obviously legal initiatives, nationwide, due to their political leanings, hostility towards the president, or some combination of the two. This is outrageous since judges are supposed to be above politics, and we’re a nation of “laws, not of men.”
For the latest example of what I’m talking about, look to San Francisco. There, a judge appointed by President Obama recently overruled President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. (His ruling was just blocked by an appeals court, but it’s still worth analyzing.)
The policy lets U.S. authorities return certain asylum-seekers entering the U.S. illegally or without proper papers via Mexico to Mexico while they await a date in immigration court. Otherwise, tens of thousands of migrants flooding our southern border would be released into the U.S. pending a future court hearing. Many would skip court, never to be seen again. We’re a compassionate country, but if we have no borders or rule of law we will not be a country at all.
If you read Immigration and Nationality Act Section 235(b)(2)(C), it’s clear Congress gave the president this power, and it’s clear he’s doing what he can within the law to deal with a crisis.
There are two parts of this case that drive me nuts. The first is that the ruling makes no sense. Congress gave the president a power, which he is using to secure our borders. This is among the most basic of government responsibilities. Who is an unelected federal judge to replace his judgment for that of the president, and our representatives who gave the president this power?
The second is that the judge took a ruling that made no sense, and forced it on the entire country by issuing a “universal injunction.”
These injunctions allow any one of the 600 hundred some odd — again unelected — federal judges to block a presidential policy not just for those filing suit in a judge’s area of authority, but for everyone across the country.
Ask yourself if a single federal judge should have this power.
Read the Constitution and you won’t find any basis for it.
Look to our history and you’ll see universal injunctions were never used in the first 175 years of our Republic.
For these reasons, the Department of Justice and Republicans in Congress have been fighting them. In an opinion last year, Justice Clarence Thomas said the Supreme Court might have to rule on their legality.
President Trump was hit with more of these injunctions in the first year of his presidency than any president in history. If universal injunctions keep flying, at some point he’s going to be left with no choice but to ignore the courts.
This will cause a constitutional crisis. But it won’t be one of his making.
It may be that he needs to bring this crisis to a head to protect the system of government we’ve been blessed with for a short 243 years – one based on justice that is blind, the separation of powers and checks and balances.
If President Trump defies the courts, Democrats, Republicans and Americans of all political stripes should thank him.
This attack on the presidency is an attack on we the people.