The voters who elected Donald Trump wanted a fighter and when it comes to the subject of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that’s just what they got.
During one of his classic impromptu news conferences outside the White House, President Trump lambasted the appeals court following one of its Obama appointed federal judge’s injunctions against another one of President Trump’s mandates.
This latest roadblock by the Ninth Courts has to do with Trump’s bill to protect our borders. A judge from the appeal court circuit struck down the President’s recently announced emergency restrictions on claims for asylum into the U.S. by immigrants.
Trump announced earlier this month that his administration would soon require those seeking asylum to present themselves at a “legally designated” port of entry.
The President’s remarks came after border patrol reported male immigrants hurling rocks and other objects across the border at them. He said, “They’re throwing rocks viciously and violently. …. We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks, like they did at the Mexico military and police, I said, consider it a rifle.”
When the 9th Circuit made its ruling, President Trump considered that court to be seeking to circumvent his efforts. Now, it looks like that Court has picked a fight with a Chief Executive who won’t shy away from protecting the American people.
While many in the mainstream media jumped to the defense of the 9th District Circuit courts, claiming it has no liberal bias, the President would hear none of it.
In particular, Trump criticized individual federal judges for bringing a halt to executive branch policy. The President refused to back down calling the Ninth Circuit a “disgrace.”
Judge Jon S. Tigar, nominated to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California by Obama in 2012 issued the restraining order.
Chief Justice Roberts defended Tigar, claiming Federal judges are unbiased. President Trump disagreed, telling reporters, “This was an Obama judge… it’s not going to happen like this anymore… Anybody that wants to sue the U.S., they file their case in the Ninth Circuit, and it means an automatic loss. No matter what you do, no matter how good your case is.”
In spite of tension between former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the President, it was Sessions who seconded the President’s fight. Sessions reminded reporters earlier this month that the 9th and other courts are engaged in something new to our republic.
“In the first 175 years of this Republic,” said Sessions, “not a single judge issued one of these orders.”
Trump has plenty of legal precedent on this side. A joint statement from the Justice Department and Homeland Security said the Supreme Court has already ruled that the President has the legal authority to restrict asylum.
That statement concluded that our “asylum system is broken”, fractured by “tens of thousands of meritless claims every year.” A Justice Department spokesman said that both the DOJ and Homeland Security look forward to “defend the Executive Branch’s legitimate and well-reasoned exercise of its authority.”
Sean Hannity of Fox News commented that the Ninth Circuit is the “most overturned court in the country.” Politifact was quick to rate Hannity’s claim as “false.” As usual The New York Times and CNN followed suit, making light of both Hannity’s and the President’s claim,
Derek T. Muller, Associate Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law sided with the President by fact checking Politifact’s analysis. He told NPR that Politifact’s analysis is “seriously flawed and suffers from… misrepresentation of the evidence.”
According to Muller, Politifact based its findings on a very selective “cohort of data from 2010 to 2015.” Using that data, Politifact concluded that the Ninth Circuit is the third-most reversed court behind the Sixth and Eleventh Circuits.
That window of time should be obvious. Trump recognizes that Obama appointees during Obama’s presidency were far less likely to serve as a check and balance to his agenda. As Muller notes, “For Politifact to so brazenly rate Mr. Hannity’s claim as false displays its choice to… to achieve a result that the fact-checker desired to reach.”
This sleight of hand may fool other Republicans but President Trump is not. He recognizes when someone has thrown a punch and he isn’t taking it lying down.
No wonder Andrew Jackson is his favorite President. It was Jackson who said: “This is my chance to do something. I have to seize the moment.” By facing the Nine down, Trump is indeed “seizing the moment.”