Shortly after President Trump requested scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast this morning, a federal judge in San Francisco issued an injunction against the request, ordering the chef to bring him oatmeal instead. That ruling was followed by a national ban on the serving of either egg or sausage products for breakfast until a comprehensive study can determine the overall impact of pork and poultry farming on climate change.
Okay… that’s not actually what happened, but at this point I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if we see it in the near future. Another judge in San Francisco, this time U.S. District Judge William Alsup, has amazingly issued an order for the White House to continue parts of the DACA program. Where the court finds the authority to force the White House to do something, rather than preventing them from doing something, remains a mystery. (NBC News)
A federal judge on Tuesday night ordered the Trump administration to revive part of the program that protected children illegally brought to the United States by their parents from being deported, calling the administration’s abrupt decision to end the program last year “arbitrary” and “capricious.”
The ruling came just hours after a bipartisan meeting between President Donald Trump and members of Congress appeared to have moved negotiations forward, however slightly, on how to address the fate of undocumented immigrants under the DACA program.
The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, rescinded the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in September and said it would stop accepting applications from people already covered under the act to renew their two-year DACA permits. The administration said the repeal would take effect in March.
On the surface, this looks like little more than another day in the #RESIST movement. If Donald Trump wants to do something – anything – you can find a judge in the northwest who will issue an order to stop him. But if we stop and consider the particulars of this ruling, it’s actually quite remarkable.
Keep in mind that we’re not talking about a program which was enacted by the legislative branch and signed into law by a president. This was an executive decision put in place by Barack Obama over the loud protestations of many members of Congress. As we’ve seen in many other such scenarios, it’s remarkable that the courts can find it perfectly fine for a president to take executive action on a particular subject, and then turn around and rule that it’s impossible for a different president to act on the same issue.
But that’s still not the most remarkable feature of this ruling. In the past, courts (generally under the Ninth Circuit) have responded when President Trump issued a new order, seeking to block him from taking action. The travel ban is one of the best examples. But in this case, the President isn’t actually doing anything. He’s opting to let an executive order from a previous administration expire by not renewing it and inviting Congress to enact a law covering the same type of program if they wish to.
The fact that this Clinton-appointed judge is actually ordering the White House to do something rather than preventing an action which might be questionable on constitutional grounds is remarkable. But at the same time, it’s the new normal in the era of Trump. Whatever the President wants to attempt is defined by liberals as A Bad Thing, and by shopping around in the right jurisdiction they can find a judge to back them up.