Today, news headlines read something like, “Federal Court Halts Trump’s Immigration Ban,” or “Judges Block Parts of Trump’s Order of Muslim Immigration.”
Here we have a very public conflict between Trump’s executive branch of government and the unaccountable judicial branch of government which for the last century has been allowed to run hog wild.
President Trump issues an order executing immigration law and a judge jumps in on behalf of those immigrants affected by the executive order, effectively acting as a check on executive power.
What is THE Donald to do?
First, let’s review a little basic political science brought to American government by its Founding Fathers who, regarding the separation of powers, were the brain children of Enlightenment political philosopher, Charles de Montesquieu (a Frenchie of all things!).
America’s Founding Fathers via the Constitution, designed and built a government whose powers to govern were institutionally separated into their constituent parts:
- The power to create rules (legislative branch)
- The power to enforce the rules (executive branch)
- The power to interpret the rules (judicial branch)
The powers of government were separated to allow people to be free of government tyranny so that The People could govern themselves and become masters of their own lives.
The relevant situation is that President Trump has enforced rules created by Congress (the legislative branch); and a judge (a member of the judicial branch) has stepped in on behalf of those affected by the enforcement of those rules. The judge’s objective: to check the enforcement and rule making powers of the executive and legislative branches of government.
But President Trump responded to the judicial branch check by simply ignoring it. This is a rare example of the executive branch turning right around and counter-checking judicial branch power.
So what happens now?
President Trump, the leader of the executive branch was duly elected by The People and is accountable to them.
The judicial branch was established specifically NOT to be subject to the will of The People so as to be a truly independent source of legal judgment.
So that leaves The People as the check on President Trump with his decision to ignore a judge’s order.
So the question is, in this situation, which branch of government is acting in accordance with the rule of law?
The answer may not be obvious.