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Tancredo: Three Lessons Learned from the Judicial Brawl over Trump’s Immigration Order

Lesson number one: never take a knife to a gun fight. Lesson number two is that every Trump initiative on immigration will be a gunfight, not a walk in the park. And, unfortunately, lesson number three is that there are a large number of “so-called judges” who will be strapped and ready to bushwhack the president at every turn.

The federal courts are a battleground, not a playground, and the 9th Circuit is the most left-wing battleground of all. District Court Judge Robart was especially incompetent in his ruling and deserved to be ridiculed for his embarrassing performance, but judicial sabotage of constitutional government is nothing new. Someone at the White House or Homeland Security forgot to factor it into the game plan for the “roll-out.”

Score round one for the army of activist open borders judges and lawyers Trump will face at every turn. But that 9th Circuit ruling was only round one, and Trump can still score a knockout.

As legal critic J.V. DeLong observed in a February 10 commentary in FORBES, “The Ninth Circuit opinion upholding the lower court’s fact-and-logic-free decision is hard to defend, as a matter of either legal reasoning or common sense.”

So, the good news is, the law is on Trump’s side, and even honest liberals understand that. The bad news is, that’s often not enough. But Trump has a not-so-secret weapon: the public wants that executive order implemented.

Trump may have erred in his choice of words in calling Judge Robart a “so-called judge.” Okay, he is a real judge: he was duly appointed and sworn into that district court position. But, hey, let’s be honest here: Trump is not the first president to attack or ridicule a federal judge. We all remember Barack Obama criticizing and insulting Chief Justice John Roberts and the entire US Supreme Court to their face in one of his State of the Union speeches.

President Franklin Roosevelt was so angry at a string of Supreme Court decisions that he asked Congress to “pack” the court by adding two new members– two new members he would appoint.

President Trump has not yet suggested anything so blatantly political as packing the court. What he has suggested is viewed as even more radical by our progressive media: that judges interpret and apply the law as it is written, not subvert it with their personal political views.

It is abundantly clear that is exactly what the 9th Circuit has done– or attempted to do. But the White House need not and will not let that unfounded 9th Circuit ruling go unchallenged.

President Trump’s January 27 executive order instituting a 90-day freeze on refugee and alien admissions from seven terrorist-torn countries — among other needed reforms like returning our refugee admissions ceiling to 50,000 annually from Obama’s recent doubling of that number– obviously did not anticipate the virulent, hysterical reaction by opponents and the feeding frenzy by the media. But nonetheless, politics and media hysteria aside, his executive order is rooted in the constitutional powers of the president and existing immigration law.

Shame on the critics for their deplorable lies and obfuscations; shame on the major media for agitating and abetting the misinformed hysteria; and shame on the 9th Circuit for its attempted political subversion of the law. Such is the world we now live in, where a fully lawful order of the president is met with organized and orchestrated chaos.

And yet, there is more than a silver lining behind these menacing clouds: Trump has both the law and the American people on his side.

Yes, there were snafus and mistakes in the first 48 hours of implementation, and indeed, legal “green card” immigrants who are already full-time residents of the United States should not have been affected by the travel ban. Those temporary problems were quickly corrected but were magnified all out of proportion by a partisan media anxious and even gleeful in their rush to embarrass the president to the maximum.

However, when the dust settles, it remains true that nothing has happened to question the policy or the legality of the executive order.

  • Did the executive order discriminate against Muslims? No. It quite rightly discriminates against terrorists from seven Muslim majority nations — seven nations identified by the Obama administration as having very high incidents of visa fraud and refugee infiltration by terrorists.
  • Does the executive order give an illegal preference to Christian refugees? No. It gives some preference to refugees who have suffered religious persecution by being a minority religion in their home country. That preference will apply equally to Muslim refugees in any non-Muslim majority nation.

One other regrettable byproduct of the media-generated hysteria over the “travel ban” is that the public spotlight was diverted from the equally important executive order signed by Trump two days earlier on interior immigration enforcement.

That executive order aiming to end “sanctuary cities” and other unlawful obstructions to immigration law enforcement has not yet been challenged in federal court, but sooner or later, it will be. Why? Because the left thinks they own the courts– they can always find an activist district court judge to agree with their noxious views.

There are two answers to the rising plague of lawsuits by progressives seeking to use activist judges to rewrite our Constitution. First, Trump will appoint replacement judges who revere the Constitution above leftist ideology. The second answer is to dethrone the courts as the “last word” on the Constitution. The truth is, the Constitution established three co-equal branches of government, not judicial supremacy. Where do you suppose did THAT curious doctrine came from? A court decision, of course.

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