Although they have an important role in the separation of powers, US Federal Courts are increasingly abrogating their role in favor of a clear partisan power grab. While it would be a mistake to overreact, and try to curb their powers to check the legislative and executive branches, their role should face increased scrutiny and public pressure. We must remember that giving power or taking it away will affect your own side eventually, as Democrats learned under Bush and Republicans under Obama.
During the reign of Trump, again and again we read and hear about judges countermanding his administration’s orders. The various iterations of the travel ban have been stopped by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has a famous track record of being insanely partisan and having their decisions overturned by the Supreme Court over 80% of the time. If I were wrong 80% of the time in my job I wouldn’t last long. Today I read that Trump’s decision on transgender soldiers was overturned by a judge. I find it curious that Trump as Commander-in-Chief of the military can have his decision overturned by a judge in this manner. Another example is the blocking of the Planned Parenthood defunding and the end of Obamacare subsidies (I’m unsure about the latter case here, I think it happened).
It is quite telling that the judicial system is criticising Trump for his use of executive power, while they themselves are so “forward-leaning” in their use of their own power. As an example, if Trump went over the line with his travel ban, then surely a couple of the decisions made by left-wing judges have overstepped their authority as well. We must also address the unethical practice of “sue and settle”. EPA administrator Scott Pruit recently ended the Obama era practice of allowing advocacy and pressure groups to bypass the legislative process by bringing lawsuits that were immediately settled, bringing with them policy changes as a result.
The narrative following Trump’s inauguration on the left was that Trump was a megalomaniacal power-hungry dictator salivating at the thought of stripping people’s rights away. The reality is that he and his administration has respected the decisions made by the judiciary, even though many of those decisions appear extremely questionable. There is a reason that Trump read the statute granting the president the authority to control the influx of people during a rally. It was so simple and clear in its wording that even rank legal amateurs like Joe Schmo could easily understand that Trump was in the right on that issue.
While the judiciary hasn’t hesitated in using its power to check the other branches, the other branches haven’t checked the judiciary. I believe that Congress can recall judges if they find that they have overstepped the bounds of their legitimate powers or as a result of other misuse of power. Why haven’t they done so? You have so search far and wide to find more deserving candidates than the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Their blatant partisanship, overreach and lousy track record (80%+ of decisions overturned upon appeal) should make this a slam-dunk case.
On a final note, we have Special Counsel Mueller being allowed to do whatever he pleases, while Clinton and her cronies remain at large. Apart from the problems of having a special prosecutor in the first place, the institution should at least be applied equally on both sides of the political spectrum. It would be helpful if Attorney General Sessions would care more about these issues and restoring the balance of power rather than going after druggies.