No way to treat ju­di­ciary

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

This is an ex­cerpt from an edi­to­rial that ap­peared in The Char­lotte Ob­ser ver:

Don­ald Trump’s ten­dency to ques­tion the le­git­i­macy of the ju­di­cial branch has gone be­yond in­ap­pro­pri­ate and is now a threat to Amer­i­can ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence.

It’s OK for a pres­i­dent to dis­agree with a de­ci­sion by a fed­eral judge. It’s a time-hon­oured tra­di­tion that was on dis­play not too long ago when for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama ques­tioned the Cit­i­zens United rul­ing dur­ing a State of the Union ad­dress as most mem­bers of the Supreme Court watched.

Ten­sion be­tween the ex­ec­u­tive and ju­di­cial branches should be ex­pected in a healthy rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy. But a sit­ting pres­i­dent re­fer­ring to a fed­eral judge as a “so-called judge” be­cause he ruled against the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion ex­ec­u­tive or­der rips at the heart of the sys­tem es­tab­lished by our founders.

That was the tamest thing our new pres­i­dent said, or tweeted, on the sub­ject. He took fear-mon­ger­ing to new heights by claim­ing that “many bad and dan­ger­ous peo­ple maybe pour­ing into our coun­try” be­cause Judge James L. Ro­bart put his travel ban on hold, as though Trump is un­aware of the ex­haus­tive vet­ting of refugees that had been go­ing on long be­fore his ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

Trump tweeted, “If some­thing hap­pens blame him and court sys­tem.” And: “What is our coun­try com­ing to when a judge can halt a Home­land Se­cu­rity travel ban.”

It means our coun­try still has suf­fi­cient checks and bal­ances in place as a buf­fer against a man who acts as if he is the star of a re­al­ity TV show in which he can dic­tate all the ac­tion in­stead of pres­i­dent of the most in­flu­en­tial na­tion in the free world.

Trump, the can­di­date, made tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­can hearts flut­ter with his pen­chant to speak from the hip in ways pre­vi­ous can­di­dates dared not do. It’s one of the rea­sons he won in Novem­ber.

But as pres­i­dent, Trump must be bet­ter. He has the right to crit­i­cize any judge he likes. He shouldn’t un­der­mine our democ­racy while do­ing so.

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