I believe that Federal judges have the right and the obligation to act on cases before them in the course of their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
But boy, it gets tough when they overstep their bounds.
So last week, Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii somehow decided that his court had jurisdiction over the application of a Supreme Court ruling in regard to President Trump's executive order suspending travel from six Middle East countries.
In case you were on Mars, the president issued an order suspending travel from those countries for six months, while DHS figured out how to protect Americans from people coming to this country, arriving without our ability to identify them or ensure that they are visiting for positive reasons. A couple of states sued on behalf of residents whose relatives or associates were not able to come here because of the suspension.
The states took their case to the Official Circuit Court of Overturned Rulings, i.e., the Ninth Circuit, which had earlier reinvented jurisprudence and ruled that the travel suspension was unlawful -- despite Congress granting the authority to the president quite explicitly.
The Administration took the case to the Supreme Court. In making the decision to accept the case for later decision, the Supreme Court lifted the injunction, allowing the travel suspension to proceed. However, they did a little creative benchwork themselves, so that yes, the suspension was put back in place but SCOTUS provided certain exceptions -- people from those countries could come in, but only if they had certain close relatives here -- children, parents, spouses, siblings, if I recall.
Naturally the whining states went back to their friendly Ninth Circuit, which is where Judge Watson took on their appeal. He responded with a ruling broadening the definition of "close relative" to include, well, more distant relatives -- cousins, grandparents, in-laws, outlaws, etc. The Trump Administration is in the process of appealing that ruling as we speak.
So here's the thing. We all understand what's going on; the left is doing everything possible to obstruct the Administration, we get it. But once your superior has ruled, it is a contemptible usurpation of judicial power for a lower court to go back and reinterpret an instruction by the Supreme Court, with its ink still dry, when the Supreme Court has stayed an injunction with a temporary ruling as to how things will go until they make their final ruling.
Got it? The Supreme Court has accepted a case to review. It is in their court, not Watson's. His political views have, or should have, zero impact on a case that is now in the highest court.
If I am Chief Justice Roberts -- heck, I don't care what justice I am -- I am livid that a stinking circuit court judge has decided what my Court and I have just said. I don't know who works for whom, but I'll tell you that in business, if something like that happened -- a middle manager changing how a CEO's clear instructions are to be done -- that middle manager is out on his or her butt. Fired.
Actions have consequences, and Judge Watson needs to be censured and then fired. For as bad as their track record of having their rulings overturned is, the whole Circuit needs to get looked at, but somewhere in the rules of judicial responsibility, someone up the Judicial Branch needs to have the right to send this guy back to county traffic court.
I don't know if you've had it with this stuff, but I sure have.
Copyright 2017 by Robert Sutton
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