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Trump Largely Wins One In the Supreme Court

 

In an unsigned opinion today the Supreme Court lifted stays imposed by lower courts on President Trump’s travel ban on travel for 90 days from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, except for nationals of those countries who have a connection with the US, for example through relatives, etc.  The ban itself will be argued before the Court in the fall, by which time the 90 days would have expired in any case.  Justices Thomas, Gorsuch and Alito joined in a dissent written by Thomas which argued that the injunctions should have been lifted in toto.  Go here to read the decision.

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Not Governed by Law at All

 

Judge Jay Bybee, Circuit Judge of the US Ninth Circuit, has written a brilliant dissent in the now moot travel ban executive order case.  The dissent is joined by four other judges of the Ninth Circuit.  It is a model of what a judicial opinion should be:  a clear look at relevant constitutional law, statutory law, and applicable prior case law.  The problem in our society is that the left has succeeded in weaponizing our courts to use political tactics to reach desired ends, rather than a dispassionate search for the law.  Such methods win momentary political battles, but they destroy what a court should be:  a neutral forum dedicated to applying the law.  The last paragraph of the dissent is poignant:

Finally, I wish to comment on the public discourse that has surrounded these proceedings. The panel addressed the government’s request for a stay under the worst conditions imaginable, including extraordinarily compressed briefing and argument schedules and the most intense public scrutiny of our court that I can remember. Even as I dissent from our decision not to vacate the panel’s flawed opinion, I have the greatest respect for my colleagues. The personal attacks on the distinguished district judge and our colleagues were out of all bounds of civic and
persuasive discourse—particularly when they came from the parties. It does no credit to the arguments of the parties to impugn the motives or the competence of the members of this court; ad hominem attacks are not a substitute for effective advocacy. Such personal attacks treat the court as though it were merely a political forum in which bargaining, compromise, and even intimidation are acceptable principles. The courts of law must be more than that, or we are not governed by law at all.  I dissent, respectfully.

Of course the comments were made because it was clear that the courts were acting as political forums and issuing political, not legal, rulings based upon the personal predilections of the judges involved.  When courts get political any concept of the rule of law flies clear out the window and we are left in a world where the law is merely another tool in the arsenal of those with whom the judges political sympathize.   In the context of the Trump administration it is clear that many Federal judges share the view of the left that Donald Trump is not a legitimate president and they will prostitute their courts, and ignore applicable legal precedents,  in order to hinder him.  God help us all.

Here is the text of the dissent: Continue Reading

11

Historical Rubbish

 

 

I used to belong to the Society for Military History.  I withdrew my membership yesterday when I was informed by the Society that it had signed on to the following resolution by the American Historical Association.  Below is that resolution with my commentary:

The American Historical Association strongly condemns the executive order issued by President Donald J. Trump on January 27 purportedly “protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” Historians look first to evidence: deaths from terrorism in the United States in the last fifteen years have come at the hands of native-born citizens and people from countries other than the seven singled out for exclusion in the order. Attention to evidence raises the question as to whether the order actually speaks to the dangers of foreign terrorism.

The resolution starts out with a sophistical piece of verbal sleight of hand.  Note the use of 15 years as the relevant time scale.  Why?  Why not 20 years or 25 years?  Because if a time scale longer than 15 years were used, 9-11 would be included, and the initial statement would be rendered false.  As an attorney, and familiar with weasel worded arguments, I have nothing but contempt for this type of lie of omission.

It is more clear that the order will have a significant and detrimental impact on thousands of innocent people, whether inhabitants of refugee camps across the world who have waited months or even years for interviews scheduled in the coming month (now canceled), travelers en route to the United States with valid visas or other documentation, or other categories of residents of the United States, including many of our students and colleagues.

Actually the Administration acted swiftly to fix the Executive Order for green card holders.  As for refugees, this was intended to be a temporary ban until proper vetting procedures could be put into place.  Last year the Director of the FBI testified before Congress that then current vetting procedures were inadequate.

The AHA urges the policy community to learn from our nation’s history. Formulating or analyzing policy by historical analogy admittedly can be dangerous; context matters. But the past does provide warnings, especially given advantages of hindsight. What we have seen before can help us understand possible implications of the executive order. The most striking example of American refusal to admit refugees was during the 1930s, when Jews and others fled Nazi Germany. A combination of hostility toward a particular religious group combined with suspicions of disloyalty and potential subversion by supposed radicals anxious to undermine our democracy contributed to exclusionist administrative procedures that slammed shut the doors on millions of refugees. Many were subsequently systematically murdered as part of the German “final solution to the Jewish question.” Ironically, President Trump issued his executive order on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

An organization that purports to represent American historians should do a better job with history.  As of 1939 the US had admitted 95,000 German Jewish refugees.  This was out of a total of 282,000 German Jewish refugees, and 117,000 Austrian Jewish refugees, who had emigrated from Nazi Germany, including Austria, up to 1939.

 

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Bush Appointed Judge

 

 

When a Seattle Federal Judge, James Robart, imposed a nation wide injunction on portions of President Tump’s executive order, most of the media hastened to noted that he had been appointed by Bush 43.  True, but misleading, as noted by Jerome Wohrle at Liberty Unyielding:

 

 

Judge Robart’s Friday order against Trump sheds little light on his thinking. But at an earlier hearing on Washington State’s motion for a temporary restraining order, he asked what rational basis the government had for restricting entry from the seven countries covered by Trump’s order: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. As NPR notes, these seven countries were previously singled out by Congress for milder restrictions on visas. Congress did so after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, in a 2015 law tightening up the Visa Waiver Program that was signed by President Obama. Critics argue that there was no rational basis for restricting travel from these countries but not other countries in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia. This argument is silly, since America has deep economic links and security ties with Saudi Arabia that it lacks with the seven countries subject to the 2015 law and Trump’s executive order. America need not antagonize a key ally when it takes steps to increase border security. Perhaps for this reason, Judge Robart’s order in State of Washington v. Trump does not even make this argument, simply suggesting that for some unexplained reason the executive order may violate the “Constitution.”

To cover up the embarrassing weakness of Judge Robart’s temporary restraining order, reporters at the Washington Post and elsewhere have trumpeted the fact that Robart was nominally appointed by President George W. Bush. They have done this to suggest that his ruling must have merit, because otherwise he would not have ruled against a President of the same party as the man who appointed him. But this is misleading, since Robart is a “staunchly liberal” judge whose appointment was “effectively forced on Bush” by liberal Senator Patty Murray in 2004, when Washington State had two liberal Senators.

The media ignores the fact that Robart’s appointment as a federal judge was championed by liberal Senators like Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who used Senatorial custom allowing senators to veto Presidential appointments of trial judges to obtain the appointment of liberal trial judges like Robart in Washington State. An April 13, 2005 press release by Murray touts Robart’s appointment as the “bipartisan” result of using a state commission to select federal trial judges in Washington, whose appointment Bush then rubberstamped. This Senatorial veto power, known as the “blue slip,” is an old tradition, dating back to at least 1917, that lets senators have a say on which trial judges are appointed to courts in their home state.

When Obama was president, the media did not do this. They would not cite the fact that Obama appointed a judge to suggest that the judge’s ruling against Obama had merit. When Judge James Boasberg ruled against the Obama IRS, few news stories mentioned the fact that he was a liberal Democrat appointed by Obama himself. When Judge Amos Mazzant issued an injunction against Obama’s overtime rule, most of the media either did not report the fact that Mazzant had been appointed by Obama; or if they did, they also suggested that he was a conservative judge, because Republican Senators in Texas used their “blue slip” privilege to block Obama from appointing liberal trial judges in Texas.

Even critics of Trump’s order have found Judge Robart’s order senseless. As one put it,

Judge Robart’s temporary restraining order … may make things even worse in the long run, and had no basis in law. The judge’s temporary restraining order is harmful — it bans giving priority in asylum claims to Yazidi and Christian applicants, even though they are the ones who face a high risk of being killed in Iraq and Syria. (It bans ‘proceeding with any action that prioritizes the refugee claims of certain religious minorities,’ see Order at pg. 5, paragraph 1). This ban is perverse, because under U.S. law and international treaties, asylum is SUPPOSED to be given to members of groups facing persecution based on religion, and the threat of genocide faces only certain religions. The judge provided NO REASONING AT ALL for his assertion that the constitution might be violated by the executive order, and lawyers like Scott Johnson have noted that the judge’s order had no real legal basis.

As another observer pointed out, Judge Robart has a history of strange rulings:

Judge Robart, the oddball judge who issued that TRO against the executive order, is the same guy who issued the bizarre college sexual assault ruling that Robbie Soave wrote about earlier at Reason Magazine.

He ruled a falsely-accused male student could not depose or obtain relevant documents from the female student who got him expelled because that would traumatize her (never mind that it was SHE who performed a sex act on him when he was blacked out, meaning that if anyone was guilty of sexual assault it was HER). Reason’s article about it can be found here.

…Robart also bellowed “Black Lives Matter” in open court, as the Daily Caller noted (in a context in which it made little sense).

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8

Iraqi Archbishop on Trump’s Executive Order Regarding Refugees

 

Well this is interesting.  Crux has an interview with Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda:

 

 

What do you make of the protests against President Trump’s refugee order?

Everyone, including the administration, seems to agree that this should have been implemented with more clarity. There was much confusion about what the order meant and many people were very upset.

From my perspective in Iraq, I wonder why all of these protesters were not protesting in the streets when ISIS came to kill Christians and Yazidis and other minority groups. They were not protesting when the tens of thousands of displaced Christians my archdiocese has cared for since 2014 received no financial assistance from the U.S. government or the U.N. There were no protests when Syrian Christians were only let in at a rate that was 20 times less than the percentage of their population in Syria.

I do not understand why some Americans are now upset that the many minority communities that faced a horrible genocide will finally get a degree of priority in some manner.

I would also say this, all those who cry out that this is a “Muslim Ban” – especially now that it has been clarified that it is not – should understand clearly that when they do this, they are hurting we Christians specifically and putting us at greater risk.  The executive order has clearly affected Christians and Yazidis and others as well as Muslims.

Here in Iraq we Christians cannot afford to throw out words carelessly as the media in the West can do.  I would ask those in the media who use every issue to stir up division to think about this. For the media these things become an issue of ratings, but for us the danger is real.

Most Americans have no concept of what it was like to live as a Yazidi or Christian or other minority as ISIS invaded. Our people had the option to flee, to convert, or to be killed, and many were killed in the most brutal ways imaginable. But there were none of these protests then of ISIS’s religious test.

Our people lost everything because of their faith – they were targeted for their faith, just like the Yazidis and others too. Now these protesters are saying that religion should not matter at all, even though someone was persecuted for their faith, even though persecution based on religion is one of the grounds for refugee status in the UN treaty on refugees.

From here I have to say, it is really unbelievable.

It is exactly this reasoning, that religion should not be a factor at all in American policy, that has resulted in Christians and other minority communities being overlooked by U.S. and UN aid programs. We are too small to matter, our communities are disappearing from constant persecution, and for years the American government didn’t care. Now when someone tries to help us, we have protesters telling us that there can be no religious basis for refugee status – even though the UN treaty and American law say that religious persecution is a major reason for granting the status, and even though ISIS targeted people primarily on the basis of religion.

I am not saying that any group should have a blanket preference when it comes to being admitted as a refugee in the United States. Such a policy would not be right, and would clearly be against our Catholic faith and teaching. And that is not the policy as I understand it.

But it is very hard for me to understand why comfortable people in the West think those who are struggling to survive against genocide, and whose communities are at extreme risk of disappearing completely, should not get some special consideration.  We are an ancient people on the verge of extinction because of our commitment to our faith.  Will anybody protest for us? Continue Reading