Mollie Hemingway, on the Federal Judge in Hawaii overturning Trump’s most recent executive order restricting entrance of so-called “refugees” from certain countries for 120 days:
Throughout the ruling, Judge Watson concedes there’s nothing about the executive order that would be problematic if not for his interpretation of Trump’s statements made in the months and years prior to issuing it. He repeatedly states his feeling that Trump had a bad motive in issuing the order.
Judges using campaign rhetoric to infer intent instead of plainly evaluating the law as written is a dangerous development. Also because the public can witness the selective use of this trick, it undermines confidence in the judiciary at a time when the judiciary can’t afford too much erosion of trust.
Federal statutes on the books for over 50 years specifically authorize the President to issue this sort of travel order. Thus, Trump’s action is not he as president acting alone, it is the President and Congress acting together. The president has extra heft when he is acting under the authority of a statute passed by Congress.
A judge acting on no more than his “feeling” that Trump’s motive is somehow not a good one is simply an act of judicial tyranny and abuse of power deserving of no respect. Trump should defy the order on the basis that he feels the judge has a bad motive.