It was inevitable that some judge somewhere—or even quite a few judges in quite a few places—would find a reason to to block Trump’s new and very carefully-drafted travel ban.
There are thousands of federal judges in the US, and a very large percentage of them are liberal. There are millions of potential plaintiffs who would be happy to bring a cause of action and lawyers who would be happy to champion them in court, and under the seemingly anything-goes rules that appear to be in effect these days about who has a cause of action and what the reach of the court system can be, there may be no end to such challenges of everything Trump does and no end of judges willing to grant their wishes.
That’s why John Hinderaker of Powerline has called this process a “liberal coup”:
Derrick Watson, a Democratic Party activist who was appointed to the federal bench in Hawaii by President Obama in 2012, has issued a purported injunction barring implementation of President Trump’s travel order. I have not yet read Watson’s opinion, and will comment on it in detail when I have done so. But I have read Trump’s order, and the idea that it somehow can be blocked by a federal judge is ridiculous. The order is absolutely within the president’s constitutional discretion.
What we are seeing here is a coup: a coup by the New Class; by the Democratic Party; by far leftists embedded in the bureaucracy and the federal judiciary. Our duly elected president has issued an order that is plainly within his constitutional powers, and leftists have conspired to abuse legal processes to block it. They are doing so in order to serve the interests of the Democratic Party and the far-left movement. This is the most fundamental challenge to democracy in our lifetimes.
I am in agreement. I also have not yet read the opinion, and I certainly hope that Judge Watson has managed to come up with something other than rationalizations to back up his ruling, and that I will end up changing my mind about the seriousness of what we’re seeing. But I doubt it. People in power tend to want to aggrandize their power, and judges are hardly immune from this.
It will be interesting—and important—to see what happens to this case on appeal. If it wins, I fear that our entire judicial system has broken down.
After the 9th Circuit had upheld the injunction on the previous executive order, I wrote a post on the subject. In it, I quoted William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, who made these prescient remarks:
The Executive Order, as the Trump administration has said it would be enforced (for example, excluding green card holders from its reach), is perfectly lawful and within the President’s power and authority. To accept the 9th Circuit ruling is to accept that the President does not have the powers vested in him by the Constitution and Congress.
This legal dispute no longer is just about the Executive Order. Democrats have made clear that they will fight in court over almost everything the Trump administration does. The 9th Circuit has opened the door to this tactic on an issue that goes to the core of presidential authority.
Yesterday, Professor Jacobson harked back to that earlier discussion, and added:
The net result is that Trump has been stripped of his constitutional and statutory powers to protect the nation through control of who is permitted to enter the country.
I warned about this, and the danger of Trump not seeking Supreme Court review in the first case…
And now it’s playing out…
…[T]he power to control who enters the country is uniquely a presidential power. Not anymore, unless the Supreme Court acts to restore that power.
We are living not just in interesting times, but in dangerous times. But I suppose that’s the definition of “interesting” when the word is used in that manner. I feel as though a judicial Pandora’s box has been opened, and if it isn’t closed soon we are in unfathomably deep trouble.