A third-tier judge, without any constitutional or legal warrant, has taken total control of America’s immigration policy from President Trump. And the president is letting him do it.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii yesterday extended the ban he imposed on President Trump’s travel ban indefinitely. And he imposed it universally, even outside his own jurisdiction, which I doubt he has any authority whatsoever to do. Vowing that the ban would remain in place even if the president appeals to a higher court, Watson said flatly, "Enforcement of these provisions in all places, including the United States, at all United States borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas is prohibited, pending further orders from this court.”
In other words, I’m in charge here, Mr. President, and you’re not.
This is an appalling, alarming, and Constitution-destroying act of judicial hubris and overreach. Simply begin with the fact that neither the Constitution nor the law gives any authority to the judiciary to set immigration policy in any manner at all. The Constitution vests it all in Congress, and Congress under that authority can pass laws which the president as the head of the executive branch then implements.
The law gives the president unquestioned, unilateral, and unreserved authority to block entry into the United States to any persons or group of persons he “deems detrimental to the interests” of the country. And he can simply do it “by proclamation” and entirely on his own authority.
The mere fact that a bottom-rung judge would have the presumption to wrest that power from the president and arrogate it to himself is beyond disturbing. The only thing more disturbing is that we are letting him get away with it. It’s absurd that the only figure who is allowed to dictate immigration policy “by proclamation” is the one figure who has no authority whatsoever to do it.
It must not be forgotten that this toxic activism will not be confined to this renegade judge. Other minor-league judges will take note that one of their colleagues has taken control, all by himself, of a major area of American policy, is dictating policy to the president, and everybody is letting him get away with it. Some judges will certainly tell themselves that if Judge Watson can do it, what’s stopping me from doing the same thing in another area of public policy? The result will be total chaos, with an entire nation in the grip of ego-driven junior league judges routinely exceeding their authority and wresting complete control of American policy from our elected officials.
I, for one, do not welcome our new judicial overlords. And neither should President Trump. If the president were to ignore Judge Watson’s tyrannical edict, on the grounds that the judge has no more legal authority than a traffic court judge to issue it, what could Judge Watson do about it? If the president were simply to go straight on ahead and begin implementing his perfectly constitutional policy, what could Judge Watson do to stop him? Precisely nothing.
Upon taking office, President Trump quite pointedly hung a portrait of Andrew Jackson in the White House. Jackson is perhaps most noted for telling the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to take a hike when he issued an unconstitutional order. Jackson is reported to have said, "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!”
This is the only way judicial tyranny is going to be broken in America. It will be broken by elected officials who fulfill their oaths of office to uphold and defend the Constitution by flatly refusing to knuckle under to black-robed oligarchs who tread where the Constitution forbids them to go. For elected officials to do this is not civil disobedience; it is constitutional obedience of the highest order.
Meanwhile, Judge Watson is making America less safe by the day as thousands of unvetted refugees, who would otherwise have been blocked, have been flooding into the United States. Who knows how many acts of terror will be committed by these Muslim migrants this judge has foolishly, recklessly, and wrongly allowed into our country?
President Trump’s highest calling is to protect the safety and security of the United States. He shouldn’t let a low-level judge stop him.