For the past three years, this site and many others have catalogued the open campaign of lawfare waged against President Trump, personally, and against his administration by hubris-filled progressive judges.
President Trump has, to his credit, recognized what is going on and decided to not quietly participate in an illegal assault upon the Constitution being waged under the flimsy guise of deciding bogus lawsuits.
Some of our would-be masters are not happy. Such was the case yesterday when U.S. District Judge and Clinton appointee Paul L. Friedman used his roost as speaker at the annual Judge Thomas A. Flannery Lecture to light into President Trump. As far as I can tell, the Flannery Lecture is some pseudo-intellectual affair put on by the DC Circuit to encourage lawyers to engage in public onanism to the applause of other lawyers. It actually may be less significant than that. The only reason we are hearing about it is because Resistance.
“We are in unchartered territory,” said Friedman, 75, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. “We are witnessing a chief executive who criticizes virtually every judicial decision that doesn’t go his way and denigrates judges who rule against him, sometimes in very personal terms. He seems to view the courts and the justice system as obstacles to be attacked and undermined, not as a coequal branch to be respected even when he disagrees with its decisions.”
Friedman rebuked Trump for his political attacks against judges…
“This is not normal,” he said. “And I mean that both in the colloquial sense and in the sense that this kind of personal attack on courts and individual judges violates all recognized democratic norms.”
Friedman said he does not object to criticism of judges, but he suggested that incivility and political scorn had escalated to unacceptable levels in recent years. He also criticized journalists and other politicians, who he said increasingly identify judges by the president who appointed them.
“The reality is that when the Trump administration has lost cases in the courts, it is not because of Clinton or Obama judges,” Friedman said, “but because of judges who are trying to follow the law and the Constitution.”
Friedman took one final stab at Trump in his closing remarks, criticizing the president’s tendency to bend the truth.
“Unlike the other two branches of government, the courts are charged with making decisions grounded in facts,” he said, “never on alternative facts.”
F*** this guy. Really.
This is just gaslighting by this Friedman guy. We’ve never, ever seen a the concerted and disreputable attacks by highly partisan federal judges upon the policy options chosen by an administration in the past. The first metaphorical shots in this scorched earth lawfare campaign against the Trump administration were fired within days of his inauguration when a bevy of leftwing judges ruled that stopping entry into the United States by persons from six failed states–states in which there was no method in place to verify either the identity or character of persons holding their passports–and one State Department-designated sponsor of state terrorism was a policy that discriminated against Muslims. Never mind that the largest Muslim countries on Earth and Muslim residents of functioning states were in no way affected. We’ve seen it on sanctuary cities, on the ability of the federal government to reprogram funds, etc., etc. There have been cases where the judiciary has illegally meddled in areas, such as the operation of immigration courts, where, by law, it has no authority. Right now we have a federal district judge and the Ninth Circuit telling us that a memorandum signed by a cabinet secretary establishing an unconstitutional shadow immigration program — that would be Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals or DACA — cannot be rescinded by literally anyone in government. Not the cabinet secretary’s successors, not even the president. We have a handful of federal judges, particularly in the Ninth Circuit, ruling that their decision in a particular case applies to the entire nation.
The federal judiciary has long ceased to be simply umpires ruling on legal issues. They hold the conceit that they are better able to develop policy than elected officials. If you go back to the 1985 origins of Missouri vs. Jenkins, you’ll find a federal district judge personally setting teacher and staff salaries and classroom size for a Missouri school district, requiring the construction of facilities, and requiring legislators to raise taxes to pay for it all. All to meet the personal policy preferences of the judge. Friedman and his ilk don’t see the judiciary as an equal branch of government (WTF does “co-equal” mean, anyway? Are there different kinds of “equal”?), they see it as the superior branch.
So long as the judiciary insists upon taking sides in partisan skirmishes and imposing their personal preferences on the entire nation despite the laws passed by the representatives of the people, they need to be treated just like any other political player. It is not the president defying “democratic norms,” it is the judiciary that has interjected itself into policy disputes where it has no business mucking about that has broken the historic norms of our democratic form of government. They have no right to expect this president, or any president, to stand idly by and watch unelected, irresponsible, and highly partisan judges try to limit his ability to govern. And no president has the obligation to treat this kind of behavior with anything but the contempt it deserves.