Opposing Forces

With numerous changes being brought upon with our new presidency, we don’t know what will occur next. Most of us are fearful, curious, or simply awaiting as to what action Trump will take next and to most of our surprise, the next party to take action has been the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has now suspended Trump’s travel ban and ordered to resume “accordance with standard policy and procedure.”

The statement released by the DHS on their official websites opened with, “In accordance with the judge’s ruling, DHS has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” They swiftly pointed out that their decision was due to a federal judge’s ruling, Judge Robart, who also commented “The state has met its burden in demonstrating immediate and irreparable injury” (Bellisle AP, 2017). Judge Robart’s decision must be complied with and it is the first opposition we truly see taking effect against Trump. Earlier someone mentioned that Laurence H. Tribe had filed a lawsuit against Trump for violating the Emoluments Clause and while other parties like the city of San Francisco have also sued Trump for violating sanctuary city orders, the decision of judge Robart has been the first to actively oppose the power being imposed by Trump since his inauguration.

I believe that what is happening currently with DHS having to follow orders by a federal judge demonstrates that Trump cannot have full control and power over everything as it has seemed these past weeks. It demonstrates that the checks and balances created within our government were created and now implemented for a reason. It seems where one thing can be done, another can always oppose, being that the Department of Justice is filing an emergency stay of Trump’s travel ban order. I’m interested in the ways that judges, attorneys and all people in the field of law, justice and politics will maneuver around creating and defending cases to oppose or defend Trump. We have to consider that this will occur at a state level and a federal level with the president acting as his own entity, essentially gives three battlegrounds for these issues to sparr in. Not only is there different branches and divisions of governments but there are many changes occurring within these institutions as to who is the new director, secretary, etc. that it gives more room for change and instability on issues that were previously decided on.

As touched on in class, the Supreme Court plays an important role in these checks and balances and we questioned who really keeps the justices in check if anyone at all. Supreme Court Justices are sworn in for the rest of their lives and if they are stern on an issue, they can make the choice of being that way until the end. The cases brought forth in the court will be telling of the case law our nation will create during these tumultuous times and also of the cases we need to analyze more closely as a community.

-Sonia

Sources

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/02/04/dhs-statement-compliance-recent-court-order

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/us-judge-temporarily-blocks-trumps-travel-ban-nationwide/

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4 Responses to Opposing Forces

  1. dneu1 says:

    I think one of the most important parts of your post is where you say that “where one thing can be done, another can always oppose”. I believe this to be incredibly true of the federal government, and we will continue to see how this plays out insofar as the DOJ filing the stay, and possibly even the Trump administration just blatantly issuing directives in contradiction to more court orders in the future. I think an important thing to say in addition to this is that really the ultimate test for what “thing” will be done last in highly publicized issues like this comes down to a matter of public opinion. Continued opposition, both in protests, and in opinion polls (like those the president just denounced this morning) can erode the political capital of both the Trump administration and those republicans closely tied to it. And while our electoral system may be imperfect, eventually those who propose unpopular government actions, must face re-election. If the Trump administration continues to act only on the wishes of a small proportion of hardcore supporters, then it risks undermining its own chances of staying in power, and most importantly its very legitimacy.

  2. morgandick says:

    Sonia,
    First of all, I really enjoyed your post, thanks for tackling such a pressing issue. I agree with the notion that checks and balances are there for a reason. It is the ultimate form of accountability between the three branches. It will be interesting to see how far the opposition will go. Since the inauguration (and the ban) we have seen the Executive fire the acting AG because she disagreed with the Executive Order, the DOJ filing the stay, and multiple groups filing lawsuits against Trump for a number of reasons, the ban included. What is personally worrisome to me, is the rhetoric being used by Trump and White House staff. In a tweet on February 4th, President Trump said “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country is ridiculous and will be overturned”. He then later tweeted on February 5th “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!” It is concerning that his language is effectively undermining the federal judicial system and attempts to put the executive branch on a higher level than the judiciary and legislature. Now, I am not sure how effective this rhetoric can go (ex: could/would the Trump administration enforce an “illegal” ban if the courts rule to overturn the order?). What is to stop Trump from “pulling a Jackson” and telling the Supreme Court that they will have to enforce their own rulings? While it is all very foggy right now, it will be very interesting to see how the courts rule on the ban (and other lawsuits) and how the Trump administration will react.

  3. Ryan Wadding says:

    Great job linking a contemporary issue with ideas we have discussed in class. As of the time of this comment the administration is defending the travel ban before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and we are still waiting for a conclusion. Since we talked about ideological influence on judges I just want to point out that currently 68% of the current judges on the 9th circuit were appointed by a Democratic president and the 9th circuit has a reputation for being politically liberal in their jurisprudence. (1) I think the 9th circuit will rule against the travel ban and we will see the travel ban make its way to the Supreme Court. If you are wondering how President Trump feels about all this, he told the law enforcement conference in Washington D.C. today: “You could be a lawyer, or you don’t have to be a lawyer. If you were a good student in high school or a bad student in high school, you can understand this, and it’s really incredible to me that we have a court case that’s going on so long.” (2) And even August E. Flentje, the Justice Department’s lawyer during the hearing said the courts should not second-guess President Trumps travel ban. (3) You are right that the judicial branch plays a major role in the checks and balances process; however, the judicial branch is functioning in the way it is supposed to and we are witnessing a president and administration that does not appear to understand that. So because of this, in response to your second sentence, I am definitely in all three of those categories. So as the 9th circuit continues to hear arguments for and against the travel ban we can only wait, speculate, and watch what happens next. Nice job, cheers!

    Sources:
    (1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_appointment_history_for_United_States_federal_courts#Partisan_mix_of_the_circuit_courts
    (2) http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-responds-travel-ban-law-enforcement-speech-234787
    (3) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/us/politics/trump-immigration-ban-hearing-appeal.html?_r=0

  4. edander4 says:

    Your post brings up many valid points. It is interesting to see people take up action against Donald Trump and using the law as a means to do so. However, this also brings up some concerns for me. What kind of country will we live in if the American people cannot respect our President? This is not to say that I agree with Donald Trump’s policies, but rather that I am concerned about the fate of our country because of this. Rampant protests throughout the country make me wonder what will happen over the next four years if people are constantly trying to stop Donald Trump at every turn.
    That being said, I am a firm believer in the right of American people to protest and fight against what they believe is wrong. I enjoy seeing people take up action for the betterment of this country. However, I feel that a divide between the people and the Executive branch is inevitable and may already be starting. All we can do is wait and see.

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