Governance by tantrum
by Tom Sullivan
"So much winning" does not apply to the sitting president's efforts in court. That in itself seems an ill portent of what lies ahead for him.
Meantime, the Trump administration suffered two losses in court this week so far. A federal court has slapped down administration attempts to curtail asylum requests:
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar agreed Monday with legal groups that immediately sued after President Donald Trump issued a Nov. 9 proclamation saying anyone who crossed the southern border between official ports of entry would be ineligible for asylum. The administration argued that caravans of migrants approaching the southern border made the new restrictions immediately necessary.Federal law stipulates people claiming asylum may do so from anywhere on U.S. soil.
“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” said Tigar, a nominee of former President Barack Obama.
"You go to the Ninth Circuit and it's a disgrace, and I'm going to put in a major complaint," Trump told reporters outside the White House when asked about the judge's asylum ruling. He did not elaborate on what specific action he might take.But not only there. U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman of Manhattan’s Southern District issued a ruling Tuesday against the Trump administration's attempts to preempt a ruling in a case challenging the Commerce Department placing a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census:
The president railed against the Ninth Circuit for nearly two minutes, claiming that "everybody who wants to sue the United States" does so in the California-based court because "it means an automatic loss" for his administration.
“Enough is enough,” Judge Jesse M. Furman in New York said as he rejected what he said has become a weekly effort by Justice Department lawyers to stop him from ruling on the merits of lawsuits accusing the Commerce Department of improperly adding the question.Those rulings follow a Trump-appointed judge on Friday overturning Trump's revocation of CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press credentials. The court found the White House had done so without due process.
He denied what he called the “latest and strangest effort,” a request that he wait to rule after a trial he presided over earlier this month until the Supreme Court hears arguments.
“What makes the motion most puzzling, if not sanctionable, is that they sought and were denied virtually the same relief only weeks ago,” Furman said, noting that he had rejected that request, as did the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
Regardless of inclination or ideology, most judges still prefer facts to alternative facts, and reasoned discourse to free-flowing policy by hissy fit. And regardless of inclination or ideology, most judges still don’t like lies or liars. And regardless of inclination or ideology, most judges favor sobriety, stability, and the integrity of the judicial branch to nihilist attacks on everyone and everything that is fact-based. Indeed, it’s entirely possible that judges are as totally exhausted by the lurches and feints of the first Honey Boo Boo presidency as the rest of us.Even as Sen. Mitch McConnell and his aiding-and-abetting Senate majority attempt with all haste to remake the judiciary in Trump's image, America's judicial keel has yet to fall off. The courts continue to be "a quiet, meticulous check" on a presidency with no regard for laws that do not line up with Trump's illiberal impulses.