Now Let Them Enforce It
President Manchild gave a typically measured response to Judge Robart’s order:
President Trump on Saturday morning ripped into a federal judge’s decision to temporarily block enforcement of his controversial travel ban.
“When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot , come in & out, especially for reasons of safety &.security — big trouble!” Trump posted on Twitter.
He also appeared to question the legitimacy of the federal judge who issued the ruling.
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump tweeted.
If this still feels surreal, it should, and if it feels frightening and dangerous, well that too. One important thing, though — the order is apparently being complied with:
On Saturday, the State Department reversed its revocation of up to 60,000 visas from people who come from seven Muslim-majority countries, the Associated Press reported. Homeland Security also said it would not direct airlines to keep visa-holders from boarding planes to the U.S. and that it would suspend “any and all actions” related to the executive order.
I think I’ll do a separate post on Jackson and Cherokee removal, but the tl; dr is that while we think of it as John Marshall v. Andrew Jackson, it was really John Marhsall v. the Jackson administration, Congress, and the state of Georgia. (Indeed, since Georgia would use anything from pardons to speedy executions to render legal appeals moot, there were ultimately never any orders for Jackson to refuse to enforce.) Marshall, a holdover from a coalition that had been effectively dead for two decades, was in a hopeless position because his position lacked support among federal and state political elites in general.
This situation is different — there is not that kind of broad-based elite consensus in favor of Trump’s Muslim ban. Congress is likely to be useless as a short-term check on Trump, but nor is it likely to go to the mat to defend Trump here (indeed, I’m sure some Republican members of Congress see Trump’s order as bad for business and would be OK with the courts stopping it.) The federal judiciary is a lot more powerful than it was in 1832, and it will have support from many state governments. Some enforcement officials have slow-walked or defied initial court orders, but it’s far from clear how much of this would stand up to a couple prominent contempt citations.
How this will play out, then, depends on some measure on Trump’s popularity. Judges and other public officials are more likely to resist Trump’s arbitrary actions if he continues to be remarkably unpopular for a president in what in quainter times was known as the honeymoon period. So the more Trump’s popularity can be driven down, the better. And Trump’s threats to judicial independence are exactly the kind of thing that might cause the extremely sporadic conscience of John Roberts to awaken.