Less than an hour ago, the 9th District Appellate Court in San Francisco handed the poodle a stinging defeat, rejecting by a 3 – 0 vote, his request for the removal of the stay against his recent travel ban, rolled out in an Executive Order issued last month. This court decision addresses in the most telling terms, something far more important than the legalities of the ban itself; i.e. it affirms that no president is above the law and that even in an area like immigration where our leader does indeed have broad authority, that authority is not unlimited and is subject to court review. This latter fact is something that the poodle did not understand when he went public with his EO and we have to hope that he finally understands it now.
Post hoc analysis of the EO by such legal eagles as Alan Dershowitz make clear that if it was not drafted in haste, it was none the less carelessly crafted. Moreover, it was composed free of any input from Congress and/or constitutional scholars who could have created a far less controversial policy statement that would have had a far better chance of surviving a court challenge. In a very real sense, what this recent history indicates is a failure of leadership on the poodle’s part. Rather than careful, judicious reflection and the seeking of guidance from others, Trump plunged ahead with the EO to keep a campaign promise and demonstrate that he is a man of action who gets things done (1). That made the release of the EO as much a self-serving political move, as an effort to keep us safe from immigrant terrorists.
We are now at juncture filled with extraordinary possibilities; one positive, the other negative. In what would be a second test of his leadership, the poodle could address the nation and acknowledge that his actions are indeed subject to review by our courts. He could then admit that his EO was flawed and that the Appellate Court was right to fault its intent and refuse to reinstate it. He could conclude by assuring us that he will seek guidance in drafting a new EO that will pass Constitutional muster. By moving expeditiously the new EO would achieve the goal of making us safer, and sooner rather than later. That would be honest, magnanimous, and in all ways, exemplary. But if this man’s history over the last 20 months is any indication, we will not rise to and seize this moment.
Should the poodle fails to act in that grand manner, then it would not be surprising if his most rabid supporters see his loss as evidence that the system, including the courts, is “rigged”. If Trump allows that sort of paranoid thinking to stand, then he will have taken yet another step towards undermining the foundations of our nation, including our system of government (2), while acting to drive us even further apart. Just as bad, if he mounts an appeal of the recent court decision, that will almost guarantee a months-long delay while the matter wends its way to the US Supreme Court. During that time, the stay of his EO ban would remain in place, allowing freer entry into our country of potentially dangerous people. In effect by seeking to be the ultimate winner in this matter as he is wont to do in everything, the poodle would be making us less safe even as he continues to insist that he is acting to make us safer.
Finally there is this: If you examine the contents of the last two paragraphs, you will see that embedded within them there are tests of both the poodle’s leadership and the psychological makeup that he has brought to the position of the most powerful person in the world. We have to hope, against his history, that he passes both.
1. This matter was given a relatively superficial treatment in the blog “Haste makes…?” posted at this site on January 29, 2017.
2. Trump has already acted in ways that raise questions about the legitimacy of our elections (they too are supposedly “rigged”), comprise the integrity of our free press, and disparage members of our judiciary. This is far from making “…America great again”; the effect is just the opposite.