By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Within hours of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order halting travelers from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States, three federal judges and one federal magistrate stayed, enjoined enforcement of much of the President’s order.
Trump signed the order at 4:22 p.m. on Friday, January 27. Within 24 hours over 350 travelers were detained at various U.S. airports or turned away at foreign airports while boarding planes destined for the U.S. One Iranian woman, a recent PhD-awardee from Clemson University in South Carolina — who has lived in the United States for seven years — was pulled off a plane in Dubai.
An Iraqi man that has worked for the United States forces in Iraq for over ten years as a translator, an engineer and a U.S. contractor was issued a visa as a reward for his service to American forces. He was in the air when President Trump signed his order at 4:22 p.m. Friday. When he landed he was detained.
Word was that even those with Permanent Resident cards – the Green Card – would not be permitted to return to the United States while the order was in effect. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus denied that was the case on Sunday. Nonetheless, confusion reigned at airports.
Fact, more terrorists that have attacked the United States have come from Saudi Arabia than all seven countries Trump targeted combined. Saudi Arabia is not affected.
In stepped three federal judges and a federal magistrate with orders to stop enforcement of elements of the Executive Order.
This is Deja Vu all over again.
In 1994, California voters passed an initiative that aimed at illegal immigrants and their American citizen children; the initiative – Proposition 187 – was passed by a million vote margin. By 10:00 a.m. the following morning, seven state and federal judges had enjoined any part of the amendment to California law from being enforced. Three years later a federal district judge issued a 42-page decision that invalidated all but one provision of the citizen passed “law.”
It is highly likely that President Trump’s Friday afternoon Executive Order dump will suffer the same fate as Proposition 187’s; i.e., death at the hands of a federal judge.
Judges are reluctant to issue stays or temporary restraining orders or injunctions unless they believe that the petitioners show a likelihood they will carry the day.
Federal judges Allison Burroughs (Boston), Leonie Brinkama (Alexandria, VA), Ann Donnelly (Brooklyn) and Magistrate Judith Dein (Boston), have examined the Trump Executive Order that temporarily halts immigration from seven majority Muslim countries and found that it might violate existing laws and/or the Constitution. A week later, Seattle Federal Judge James Robart (a G.W. Bush appointee) dropped the hammer on the Order and stopped any enforcement of it temporarily. In all, 50 lawsuits have been filed around the country.
A wrestling match between judges and the President…The Founding Fathers anticipated this conflict when they wrote into the Constitution three separate branches of government. In the Constitution they allocated power to individual voters to select legislators and the President, but gave the President Veto power over the legislature and super majority power to the legislature to override a veto. It assigned to the President the authority to select judges with advice and consent from the Senate but gave the jurists lifetime tenure with the only exception being impeachment and conviction by Congress.
Foresight…The Founders had it and for that we can be thankful.
To avoid conflicts with federal judges and their injunctions it might be a good idea for President Trump to bring in some retired federal judges to vet his orders and proclamations so that he can avoid stumbling or suffering gigantic embarrassment like President Obama did when he was trounced by courts from the district level all the way to the Supreme Court more times than any other modern President.
It might also help for the White House to not act like The Three Stooges when it disseminates an Executive Order. ###
Contreras is the author of THE MEXICAN BORDER: IMMIGRATION, WAR AND A TRILLION DOLLARS IN TRADE (Floricanto Press, August 2016)