Two weeks ago President Trump signed an executive order that barred non-citizen travel into the United States from seven Middle Eastern countries. These countries were labeled by the Obama administration as being “countries of concern” when it comes to radical Islamic terrorism. It’s important to mention that President Obama’s administration carried out a similar action on immigration from Iraq in 2011. The only difference between the two presidents’ actions is that President Trump expanded the ban to include six additional countries.
Article 8, Section 1182, part F in federal law 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.
This couldn’t be clearer. It is up to the executive branch to regulate immigration.
On Friday, in Seattle, Washington, a federal judge named James Robart issued a ruling concluding that the state of Washington was facing damages from President Trump’s executive order mentioned above. Yet, judges have no constitutional or statutory authority to issue rulings regarding immigration.
What makes Judge Robart’s ruling dangerous is that he is assuming a wide range of authority of which he isn’t granted in the law.
If for some reason higher courts uphold Judge Robart’s ruling, then we will be in the middle of a constitutional crisis. Right now, we are in the beginning stages of this specific scenario. So what do we do? What should be our response to the constitutional crisis that is looming?
Article I, Section 2, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution states: “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” (Emphasis added.)
Impeachment should be a last resort. Nonetheless, at a minimum, I believe there must be a serious discussion about whether impeachment is appropriate for judges like Mr. Robart, who explicitly ignore both federal statutes and two centuries of constitutional law.
If disobeying of federal law doesn’t warrant an impeachment vote, then what does?
For far too long federal judges and even the Supreme Court have issued rulings that are outside their jurisdiction as outlined in the Constitution.
One example is the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which had the effect of legalizing same sex “marriage.” This ruling was flawed but in a different light than Judge Robart’s ruling. The Obergefell decision was flawed because it created a right that was nowhere mentioned in the Constitution because marriage is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. The 10th Amendment says that whatever is not mentioned therein is left unto the states to rule on. In essence, the Supreme Court went outside of its jurisdiction and the Constitution to rule on that which was not in the Constitution.
Judge Robart went a step further and issued a ruling that was contrary to the explicit text of the federal law and the Constitution. As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, Congress via federal law and the Constitution explicitly give immigration authority to the executive branch.
If America continues to allow the judicial branch to rule on that which they aren’t granted authority, then we will soon become an oligarchy and no longer be a constitutional republic.