Yesterday’s news was as dramatic as it was fast. Trump issued an executive order banning immigration from certain Muslim countries–but not from ones where he has business connections. The result was chaos, confusion and catastrophe. Hundreds of legal residents and immigrants from doctors and scholars to vetted refugees sat in limbo both here in the United States and around the world. As airports acorss the country turned into a real-time political morality play, civil liberties groups began to issue legal challenges even as spontaneous protests grew in size.
Finally, several judges issued stays on the blanket deportations as it became obvious that the policy was not only cruel and unAmerican but flatly illegal. Unfortunately, the judicial rulings don’t actually allow these unfortunate souls to leave the airport, so they remain stuck at airports until the legal system can work out what is to be done.
And now, even as some Republicans slowly begin to criticize the Trump Administration’s needless outlawry and cruelty and bigger civil protests are planned, it becomes obvious how important it will be for Democrats to do all they can to stop Trump’s Supreme Court nominee for as long as humanly possible.
It is very likely that the preponderance of federal judges will side against Trump on the ban. Trump’s excuse that he can supposedly restrict whatever immigration he likes if he feels there’s a vague terrorist threat is a flimsy pretext to get around a very clear 1965 law preventing discrimination based on national origin. But the Supreme Court might be another matter if Trump is allowed to seat another justice on it, depending on how justices Roberts and Kennedy decide to rule in the era of Trump. Split 4-4 decisions affirm the rulings of lower courts, which will be a stopgap against aggressive white nationalist barbarism of Trump and especially of Steve Bannon, who apparently has full run of the White House. Assuming, that is, that Trump doesn’t style himself after Andrew Jackson and simply refuse to obey the judicial branch’s orders, precipitating a Constitutional crisis in only his second week.
Republicans in Congress already stole a Supreme Court nomination from former President Obama by denying Merrick Garland a hearing for the better part of a year. Senate Democrats must show President Trump the same level of discourtesy and disrespect. The safety and security of the Republic, as well as the fates of thousands of innocent souls, depends on it.