The U.S. Supreme Court Monday afternoon canceled oral argument in the troubling legal challenges by “sanctuary states” to President Donald Trump’s “travel ban” executive order. Hearing was scheduled for Oct. 10 in the appeals of Trump, President of U.S., et al. v. Int’l Refugee Assistance, et al. and Trump, President of U.S., et al. v. Hawaii, et al.
President Trump issued a proclamation (rather than an executive order) on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, announcing the permanent version of his travel restrictions put in place by his Department of Homeland Security. The White House issued a Fact Sheet and a Q&A document.
Thereupon, the high court’s order directs that “The parties are directed to file letter briefs addressing whether, or to what extent, the Proclamation issued on September 24, 2017, may render cases No. 16-1436 and 16-1540 moot.” This is now the second time lawsuits against Trump’s efforts have been made irrelevant by Trump’s updates to the policy.
The new, now-permanent enhanced vetting and screening procedures are tightly focused on the specific problems of obtaining information to determine which temporary visitors or immigrants are safe and which are threats. Different procedures apply to different countries based on the actual challenges that apply to each country. Non-Muslim countries like North Korea are covered, whereas only about six Muslim countries are on the list.
Trump is fighting to “Make America Safe Again.” He was elected in part to reverse the reckless foreign policies of Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. The establishment’s attitude of favoring foreigners ahead of American citizens allowed Islamic terrorists to enter and remain in the country despite red flags and kill nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001. Our nation was placed at risk by the likes of Obama Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
Trump announced upon signing his original executive order: “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.” Freedom Watch filed a “Friend of the Court” brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in support of Trump’s actions.
But while working to implement his agenda, President Trump is discovering the new reality of modern American government: Judges and lawyers increasingly think that the courts run the country, not the president or the Congress. For decades and indeed a century, we have allowed judges to usurp more and more power. They have grabbed raw, unchecked power never intended by the Constitution. The expansion of the judicial role is reaching dangerous levels. That is why as early as 1994 I founded Judicial Watch and – after a run for U.S. Senate – also founded Freedom Watch.
Trump had originally suspended visitors – on a temporary basis – from seven “failed states,” which happened to be Muslim, whose chaotic or corrupt governments cannot provide reliable screening information to keep out potential terrorists, in his Jan. 27, 2017, executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” 82 Fed. Reg. 8,977. Then FBI Director James Comey confirmed in congressional testimony that it is impossible to screen visitors because dysfunctional countries lack records for us to check, or records can be corrupted.
Trump’s executive order is fully authorized by the law under 8 U.S. Code § 1182(f) and his role as commander in chief and head of foreign policy. Yet liberal lawyers and judges claimed that because they imagine Trump to be a bigot (because they say so), the lawful actions of the commander in chief therefore can be overturned by the courts. The courts now assert the power to commandeer and nullify the power of the presidency.
Trump’s statements about Islamic terrorism on the campaign trail are being twisted to suggest hatred of all Muslims. Yet as reported by CNN, when town-hall attendees asked whether Trump would consider putting a Muslim in his Cabinet or on his ticket, he respond: “Oh, absolutely, no problem with that.”
The Supreme Court was set to decide whether off-hand comments as a private citizen running for office should replace the official deliberations of a government official informed by government processes. Where Trump as president developed tightly focused orders to comply with the law, his unofficial loose talk as a candidate was held by activist judges to represent the “real” reason for his executive orders and the careful design of the order is a mere ruse.
Trump’s team is slowly learning that they not only have to do the right thing but do it in the right way. Trump’s executive order should have made clear that the problem was the inadequate information to screen out dangerous visitors from harmless ones. Failing to emphasize and document this invited attacks in the courts.
The Supreme Court was also set to address the concept that anyone in the world now has rights under our Constitution, so that all of the world’s 7 billion people are entitled to come to the United States at will. Liberal lawyers and judges decided that foreigners can bootstrap the right to enter the country because the feelings of a U.S. citizen might be hurt, or some small group of left-wing professors want to invite a Palestinian terrorist to speak to a brown-bag faculty lunch. Under this new theory, the entire planet has rights under our U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court pushed back in partially lifting an injunction, but that question was to be heard Oct. 10.
The lawsuits will be back again, and the issues will eventually return to the Supreme Court. But what needs to be asked is why the courts are supervising and overturning the actions of the commander in chief and president established by our Constitution.