Recently in the national political scene, we have watched the President issue an Executive Order that halts all entry into the United States by individuals from 7 nations. These nations, by the way, were singled out by the Obama administration for posing a threat of terrorism against our country. It was not Trump who decided to specifically call these places out, it was Obama. For all those who believe our current President is a racist Islamaphobe, I wonder how quick they would be to call Mr. Obama the same thing?
A few States sued the President and asked for the EO to be overturned. These people found an ally in Judge Robart from Seattle. He issued a temporary restraining order on the EO and it was immediately appealed to the court that rules above Robart, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. After hearing the appeal, the 3-judge panel from the 9th Circuit ruled against Trump. The problem, however, is that they did not give a good reason why. The U.S. Congress has given the Executive branch (in this case, Donald J. Trump) the sole discretionary authority to decide who gets into the United States and who stays out. You might not like that, but this is the way it works. If you have a problem with that, petition your Congressman to change the laws. For now, it is the law of the land. The 9th Circuit took matters into their own hands, and decided that the law doesn’t matter. It is a well known fact that this particular court is the most overturned court in the entire nation, with over 80 percent of their decisions being reversed by the Supreme Court.
With the Executive branch in sole power of immigration entry and refusal, coupled with a rogue judiciary that took more power that it has been Constitutionally given, it would not be unreasonable for President Trump to simply ignore their decisions and proceed with carrying out his executive orders. I am not convinced he would do this, but it would not be the end-of-the-world scenario many on the left imagine it would be.
Numerous times in our nation’s history we have seen the President ignore the decisions made by the courts. Most famously is Abraham Lincoln, a hero to the Right and the Left. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus (the right to appear before a judge) during the Civil War. The courts ruled that he did not have the power to do so, but he didn’t care and did what he wanted. I don’t see the left today complaining about his rogue ways. Andrew Jackson is another man in such a famous situation, when he declared (allegedly), “The courts have made their decision; now let them enforce it.”
We have come to believe that the courts are the Great End-All Be-Alls, but that is not the case. The Constitution gave Congress the power to decide laws. The courts granted themselves omnipotence in Marbury vs. Madison in 1803 by establishing judicial review, and that has been the way people have thought ever since then. This does not mean, however, that the Constitution gave them this power. It’s a pretty sweet deal when you can convince everyone around you that you have all power. The Supreme Court did, and they got away with it.
If Trump decided to ignore the decisions of the 9th Circuit, the only recourse the judges would have (in a very extreme and unlikely scenario) would be to send in the Marshals to arrest him. This would quickly go bad for the Marshals (if they carried out the judges orders of arrest). Trump is surrounded by loyalists and Constitutionalists. These Secret Service and military members likely understand how the 9th has overstepped their authority, taking power away from the President and giving it to themselves. It is not unreasonable to see a young and eager Marshal arrested by the Secret Service in his attempt to incarcerate the Commander-in-Chief. The real Constitutional crisis is not found in Trump ignoring a judicial ruling, it’s the judges claiming power that is not theirs to wield. We either have 3 branches of government or we do not. When we exalt judges to a place of finality in decisions, we are limiting ourselves to their biased opinions and undeserving perfection.
Will this scenario play out? Most likely not. Would it be un-Constitutional for Trump to ignore a court decision? Not in the least. He clearly has the law on his side, and if rogue judges want to strip him of power Congress gave him, in the purported words of Jackson, let them enforce their decision.