An arrogant junior level judge in Hawaii has appointed himself dictator-for-life for America’s immigration policy. He should be ignored by the man with genuine, constitutional and legal authority over immigration policy, the president of the United States.
Lowly U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson inserted himself without constitutional warrant AGAIN into the immigration debate by rewriting America’s immigration policy, and going over the heads of the justices of the United States Supreme Court in the process. A “district judge,” by definition, has legal authority over, well, a “district.” Somebody forgot to tell that to Judge Watson in law school, because he thinks that he is the Supreme Judge of the entire United States, and has arrogated to himself the power to decide what our nation’s immigration policy should be.
The Supreme Court has already upheld the President’s Muslim travel ban, with one exception for those with a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States. That means someone has to define “bona fide,” and in our system of government, that responsibility is entrusted to the president, not to some black-robed renegade sticking his nose in places where it has no right to be.
And so the president defined those with “bona fide” relationships as U.S. based spouses, children, parents and siblings. More remote relationships – grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins – are not eligible for waivers under the president’s policy.
Well, Judge Watson didn’t much care for the president’s definition of “bona fide,” and so he took it upon himself to rewrite the policy to allow virtually everybody to get in. Under his ruling, not only grandparents but “grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States” are eligible. Y’all come in. Pay no attention to the president – you know, the one with the actual constitutional authority here. Y’all just listen to me. So this judge has gutted Trump’s Supreme-Court-approved travel ban and made it virtually meaningless.
The judge based his ruling on “common sense.” Well, judge, we’re all for common sense, but there is nowhere in the Constitution or the law where your own subjective definition of “common sense” entitles you to set aside the plain meaning of the Constitution and the law.
The Constitution entrusts authority over immigration to Congress, and the Constitution invests “all legislative Powers” to Congress. What that means is that the Founders invested absolutely zero legislative authority – as in nada, zip, zilch – in low-level judges, even in their own districts, let alone over the whole country.
Judge Watson also expanded eligibility to those with any connections to a refugee resettlement agency, despite the fact that we know Muslim fundamentalists slip jihadists into the refugee stream all the time.
Using its constitutional authority, Congress has delegated to the president unilateral, unquestioned authority to bar immigration to any immigrants he thinks would represent any kind of threat to American interests (emphasis mine):
Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
You will notice that minor league judges aren’t mentioned anywhere in here. It is quite specifically and unmistakably “the president” who has this authority. He can exercise it without consulting anybody, including the Congress or federal judges, and he can bar entry simply “by proclamation.” He doesn’t need an act of Congress to do this or permission from anyone in the judiciary, even the Supreme Court. He can bar entry to anyone he “finds” or “deem(s)” detrimental to our national interests. So it’s entirely a matter of his judgment. Judge Watson may not like it, but if he doesn’t, his solution is to urge Congress to pass a different law, not to become a lawbreaker himself.
The only way we we are going to reclaim our country from tyrants in the judiciary is for those with constitutional authority – such as President Trump – to simply ignore their plainly unconstitutional opinions. If sanctuary states believe they can illegally ignore legitimate laws, a president surely can legally ignore illegitimate rulings that violate legitimate laws. Federal judges will keep pushing us around as long as we let them. It’s long past time for us to start pushing back.
Bottom line: President Trump should ignore this low-level district judge, and direct immigration officials to continue implementing his immigration policy. After all, they work for him and not for Judge Watson. This would not be anarchy, but the exact opposite. It’s the judge who is vitiating the rule of law, and the president who would be upholding it. This would not be civil disobedience at all on the president’s part, but rather constitutional obedience.
And Judge Watson himself should be impeached for violating his oath of office to uphold “the laws of the United States,” and be removed from office before he puts ISIS in charge of immigration policy.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.