The law still matters to some SCOTUS justices

“Trump keeps losing not because of something obscure, but because of something fundamental: his abuse of the executive branch. Much of his administration’s approach to governance rests on attempting executive actions that lack any meaningful justification rooted in expertise, or even rational thought. …

“Trump’s abuse of the executive branch is one of the most damaging aspects of his presidency, because it rejects a reasoned approach to making government policy. Trump has made clear—most notably during the impeachment process—that he disdains the civil servants who bring deep expertise and valuable experience to important policy questions. …

“Trump has made clear time and again that he doesn’t really care what the law says, especially about immigration. That’s why he urged shooting rock-throwing immigrants and retaliating against immigrant-friendly sanctuary cities by sending detained immigrants to such cities, and why he fired his own Homeland Security general counsel, who had pushed back on various questionable Trump initiatives. Trump doesn’t see law as a constraint, but something to be manipulated—and that’s clearly a message his Cabinet seems to have received. Consequently, they play fast and loose with the law. The Court, in this decision and last year’s, is essentially saying that the law still matters.

“Ultimately, that’s precisely what’s at stake as long as Trump is president. If all that matters is a president’s policy preferences, then law—including judicial review—is basically a facade: Dress it up enough, and it’ll pass muster. But if law matters—if building a record and considering facts and providing honest reasons matter—then Trump is sure to keep losing.”

The legal reasoning may look like it turns on obscure technicalities, but the administration?s cases are falling apart because of something much more deeply wrong.

One thought on “The law still matters to some SCOTUS justices

  1. IMHO a very strange piece of writing. They say “executive actions that lack any meaningful justification rooted in expertise, or even rational thought” and much of the text hews to that line. Not surprisingly, Trump’s actions aren’t justified by expertise because his major policy goals contradict the interests of the classes most experts are in. But they’re certainly not outside “rational thought”. Above all else, Trump wants fewer immigrants, particularly poor, brown, and/or Spanish-speaking immigrants. (And what little data I’ve seen says that the majority of Americans want less of even *legal* immigration.)

    The big point, as I see it, is that Trump can’t officially justify administrative actions on the grounds of reducing immigration, especially of the types he and his followers (and a lot of voters) want to particularly reduce. So the official justification is nonsense and the courts respond “That’s not a real justification for what you’ve done.”

    But in the context of the situation Trump finds himself in, it’s certainly a reasoned way to try to achieve his goals. Indeed, can you suggest one that will work better?

    Now I think the writers understand this. E.g. they mention “providing honest reasons matter”. But they want to lump that in with “considering facts”, as if Trump isn’t perfectly aware of the facts involved. They seem to want to obscure what they object to and confuse it with offenses that aren’t present.

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