Two weeks ago, Donald Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court (a seat that’s only open because Senate Republicans stole the nomination from President Obama). The way Trump has since reacted to court rulings on his travel ban executive order speak volumes about how he views the judiciary and our constitutional democracy and how the U.S. Senate should treat his pick.
On January 27th, Trump issued an executive order banning entry to the United States for nationals from seven Muslim majority countries. We all know the mayhem, protest, and outrage that ensued. In the hours after the ban was enacted, Virginia’s Legal Aid Justice Center sought and secured a temporary restraining order for Dulles Airport that required Customs and Border Protection to allow detained individuals to see an attorney. Under direction from the Trump Administration, CPB slow-walked and circumvented the order, preventing individuals at Dulles from seeing lawyers who were there, on the ground, at Dulles.
This obstruction of justice isn’t just problematic for the individuals impacted—it also speaks volumes about the attitude of Donald Trump and his administration towards the judicial branch of government.
Since those first 48 hours, more suits have been filed and more injunctions issued(thanks, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring!). This past week, a federal appeals court issued a nationwide injunction preventing the administration from blocking immigrant’s entry into our country. Here’s how Trump has reacted:
These tweets don’t just speak to Trump’s volatile temperament and toddler-like temper tantrums. No, they’re far more insidious than that. Trump is actively attempting to undermine a fair and impartial judiciary—the only real check on his power.
The Republican Congress won’t stand up to Trump.
They won’t investigate his ethics problems. They won’t take a tough line on Russia. They won’t call out his travel ban for the unconstitutional mess that it is. And they certainly won’t stand up and say no to unqualified and dangerous appointees.
Our court system is a critical check on Donald Trump’s volatility, poor judgment, and corporate agenda and these tweets show he knows it. That’s why he’s crying foul, claiming political interference, and, incredibly, blaming the judiciary in advance should Trump fail to keep our country safe. Trump wants to kneecap the courts. And now he wants to name a Supreme Court justice who could shape our country for a generation?
When we rallied in Richmond against this nomination, I told the crowd that what’s happening in our country right now isn’t normal. Our response can’t be normal. We cannot allow Donald Trump to reshape the independent judiciary and turn them into a lapdog to his authoritarian administration. His false and obnoxious claims of voter fraud not withstanding, Trump lost the popular vote and he definitely lost Virginia.
we call on our senators
We need Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine to stand up for us. No Trump SCOTUS nominee should be confirmed unless he is demonstrably in the mainstream with significant bipartisan support: 66 votes. The stakes aren’t about political gamesmanship or payback for blocking Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. No, this is far more important. This is about ensuring a fair and impartial judiciary remains that way. Otherwise we’re all at the mercy of Donald Trump.