Applying the brakes

President Trump is not a man who is used to being told he cannot do exactly as he pleases


Editorial February 10, 2017
US President Donald Trump. PHOTO: AFP

Prior to President Trump’s inauguration there was speculation as to whether or not he would be subject to the inbuilt checks and balances within the American system of governance. A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has demonstrated in the most decisive manner possible that Mr Trump is the same as every other American citizen when it comes to the law — there are no exceptions, not even for the President. The court has ruled unanimously that the Trump administration has failed to offer any evidence regarding the national security concerns that were cited as the reasons behind the enactment of the executive order that banned people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the USA. President Trump is not a man who is used to being told he cannot do exactly as he pleases. He swiftly took to his preferred platform of communication — Twitter — and turned on the caps-lock to say ‘See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake.’

The ruling by itself does not resolve the case, but the possibility of Trump getting his executive order reinstated are felt to be slim at best by seasoned observers of the US political landscape and legal systems. Leaving aside global reactions it is evident that the presidential advisers who drafted the order had not factored in the Law of Unintended Consequences. In order to win the case the Justice Department is going to have to present evidence that people from the seven countries actually present a threat — and considering that nobody from any of them has ever been caught in the commission of a terrorist act or convicted as such the chances are small.

The stage is now set for a battle of wills between the Presidency and the Judiciary. Heartland America remains solidly behind the President it elected. The President is popular and his actions even more so. Yet the President is not omnipotent nor is he above challenge, and the obvious flaws in the executive order that has provoked this confrontation were open to challenge from the outset. The Trump Presidency is going to be nothing if not rumbustious.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2017.

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COMMENTS (2)

Toti calling | 4 years ago | Reply Trump carries on with his text messages regardless of the latest court verdict. He tweets: See you in court. He seems to have forgotten that the judges are in the court already and one was appointed by him and the other appointed by Bush another Republican. It would be wishful thinking that he gives up on his agenda. He has made blunders only after a few weeks in office. Get ready for more shocks in next 4 years.
Feroz | 4 years ago | Reply This is how a democracy works with checks and balances to ensure the outcome is determined within the law, at the same time the will of the people is not undermined. There is no east way to ram though executive actions without proper deliberations and judicial scrutiny. A way will be found that satisfies both the rule of law as well as addresses security concerns.
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