This morning brought a flood of Twitter reaction to President Trump blasting a judge, who late Friday put a nationwide block on his Executive Order. Raise your hand if you expected the President to go on the offensive over night. See? That was expected. Move along, nothing to see here.
Whether the President cares, the a federal judge is part of an equal and independent branch and cannot be fired like he did a week ago to acting Secretary of State Sally Yates. Those on the left were, wrongly, outraged at that firing:
Anyone serving in the Executive Branch by appointment serves “at the pleasure of the President.” Clearly President Trump wasn’t pleased and was perfectly within his right to replace her. Yes, it does cause embarrassment that Yates was among only a handful of upper Obama Executive Branch personnel asked to stay on for the time being by the Trump team. And it was embarrassing to learn that Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General in waiting had challenged Yates in her confirmation hearing to remain independent of the President. But Trump has shown he is hardly concerned about optics nor hypocrisy. And you can argue that the Department of Justice has a long history of independence and trust, but in the end, it is an Executive department that ultimately reports to the President.
What is being overlooked this morning is that Judge James Robart, who issued the nationwide temporary block on Friday, is not part of the Executive Branch. The Constitution’s checks and balances hold that the Executive Branch appoints Federal Judges, at which point Congress approve the appointment. After this point, the only check against a judge would be impeachment. And that’s not something the Executive Branch can initiate.
This isn’t some liberal activist judge, it’s a federal judge appointed by President Bush in 2004 and approved by the Senate 99-0 in a Congress that was a GOP majority of both houses.
So when President Trump overnight said:
It’s just another tweet and another potshot at someone who disagreed. No outrage here.
In fact, President Trump may need a Civics 101 refresher:
The country is having it’s say on this, and what remains to be seen is whether Congress will enact legislation to support the President or vice-versa. As the ban currently stands, it is not supported by the majority of the Senate and nor House and faces a striking silence by most Governors. On this Executive Order, the President stands pretty much alone.
What would it take to spur my outrage? If the President tells Customs officials to ignore the federal ban and continue as directed, then we have have President in contempt. And that’s a whole different monster. While initially there were border agents ignoring the first bans, it seems more likely it was out of confusion of the implementation of the order made in haste rather than direct non-compliance. Open defiance of the Judiciary would be outrageous.
But as it stands on the meter for today’s “outrage”? This one to me just rates a simple… meh…