By J. D. Heyes, editor-in-chief
(National Sentinel) National Security: When U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled earlier this year that President Donald J. Trump’s travel ban, restricting U.S. entry to people from six terrorism-infested countries, was ‘unconstitutional’ because of what the president said on the campaign trail about “Muslims,” he committed one of the more outrageous examples of Left-wing judicial activism in recent memory.
Now Watson is back for an encore. Even after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mostly in favor of the president in issuing the 90-day ban — ruling, in part, that “the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security” — Watson is once again assuming the role of the head of the Executive Branch.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Watson late Thursday issued another injunction against the travel ban, deciding for himself that the Trump administration’s interpretation of the high court’s ruling is wrong:
The justices said Mr. Trump’s administration couldn’t enforce the ban against people with bona fide relationships to people or organizations in the U.S. Days after, the Trump administration adopted a narrow view of what relationships counted for an exemption from the ban.
Administration officials said visa applicants and refugees with U.S.-based spouses, children, parents and siblings would be allowed in. But those with only lesser ties—such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins—would be subject to the ban.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii took issue with that interpretation. He issued an order late Thursday, which applies nationwide, that says people with broader family ties are also exempt from the ban.
“The Government’s definition of close familial relationship is not only not compelled by the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision, but contradicts it,” the judge wrote.
Judge Watson said the Trump administration’s ban implementation after the high court ruling tilted the scale too far in its favor and against those travelers with U.S. family connections. He ordered that the ban not apply to “grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States.”
“Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members,” the judge wrote.
Once again, for the record, here is what the relevant U.S. statute giving presidents (not federal judges) absolute authority to decide who can and cannot enter the country:
Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 states: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
Further, under the Constitution’s Article II, Sect. II, clause, Trump — as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and head of the Executive Branch — has the authority to make national security policy for the country, and his executive orders were always couched in that authority, and that very concern.
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It’s pretty obvious this judge, an Obama appointee, has a problem with Trump, and one that he did not have with the man who nominated him to the federal bench: During his tenure, he implemented similar bans, even earning the moniker “Deporter-in-chief.”
Frankly — and this is not unprecedented — the White House, as in the president, should simple ignore this partisan hack and continue operating under the guidelines provided by the SCOTUS ruling last month.
As reported by Reveal, University of St. Thomas law professor Michael Paulsen has made an argument for “departmentalism” — meaning, in cases where the president and the courts interpret the Constitution differently, the president’s interpretation is supreme, not the courts.
“The power of constitutional interpretation is a divided, shared power,” Paulsen argued, “incident to the functions of each of the branches of the national government — and to instruments of state governments, and of juries, as well — with none of these actors literally bound by the views of any of the others.”
At the start of the Civil War, President Lincoln ignored the Supreme Court, which disagreed with his suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. Of that incident, Paulson — in a book co-authored with his son Luke, noted: “Implicit in Lincoln’s action was his belief that he was not bound as President to obey a judicial order he believed incorrect as a matter of constitutional law — the boldest challenge ever made to judicial supremacy in constitutional interpretation.”
And while there is no recent case similar to this, Trump at some point may have to take the route of “departmentalism” when it comes to his travel ban, deciding for himself whether his power as president and duty to protect the country is more constitutional than an activist judge’s order loosening the ban on the nonsensical presumption that the president is a bigoted racist who hates Muslims.
Critics will call such a move an ‘unprecedented attack on the Constitution and the rule of law.’ Well, the president can make the very same argument, and should.