While WC was off the grid, soaking in hot springs in the Snake River Gorge, Donald Trump managed to lose five important court cases in a single day. That’s a personal best for the President, WC believes, and likely the worst day in the federal judiciary for a sitting president since Franklin Roosevelt was trying to get his New Deal through against an ultra-conservative judiciary. His week didn’t get any better after that. Let’s review the carnage.
The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“the DC Circuit”) rejected Trump’s attempt to stop his accounting firm, Mazars USA, from turning over eight years of financial records to House Democrats. True, they stayed their decision to give Trump a chance to try to get the SCOTUS to review his appeal, but that’s a low-odds long shot. Even the Kavanaugh-inflected Roberts Court respects the rule of law (if not the effect of precedent) and the separation of powers. It’s hard imagine even the Justice Scalia-wannabes finding limits on Congress’s investigatory powers. But in the meantime, it’s another loss for Trump.1
Meanwhile, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, U.S. District Judge David Briones ruled that the President’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall was unlawful. The court has entered a remedial order yet, but rather invited the plaintiffs to lodge a proposed preliminary injunction. Look for such an injunction to be issued in two to three weeks. That will stop use of military approiations from being re-directed to Trump’s idiot project. Sure, there will be appeals, but it’s another loss for Trump.
Three different U.S. District Court Judges, sitting in the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of Washington and the Northern District of California, all independently ruled that the President’s green card regulations – the “public charge rule” – was illegal. Under the Trump’s public charge rule, many green card and visa applicants could be turned down if they had low incomes or limited education because they’d be deemed more likely to need government assistance in the future. The New York judge was harshest: “The rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification.” It seems that “election pledge” doesn’t justify rewriting federal statutes.
All five of those defeats came down on Friday, October 11. The next seven days didn’t get any better for the First Sociopath. In particular, his attempt to stonewall the House impeachment investigation has been a failure. Trump ordered that no current or former executive branch employees cooperate with House subpoenas. Despite that obstruction effort, three current and former senior State Department officials and a former top White House aide have testified for nearly 36 total hours. The career displomats at the State Department, in partcicular, are unwilling to tie themselves to Trump.
Trump has been feigning indifference to his court defeats because, he said, he is busy packing the courts with Trump appointees. Yes, he really said that.
And if you needed any clearer indication that the Republicans in Congress are worried, consider the recent pledge by Senator “Moscow Mitch” McConnell to complete a Senate trial of any House impeachment actions by Christmas. Moscow Mitch, who is sitting on some 40 or more House-approved bills, refusing to even allow them to come up for a vote, has committed (for a given definition of “commit”) to immediately act on impeachment. Because they certainly want the whole impeachment business resolved in advance of the 2020 elections, which will be fraught enough without the “distraction” of impeachment.
Trump, in the meantime, betrayed an ally, provoked an invasion, triggered the escape of very dangerous ISIS prisoners, rewarded Russia and caused the death of hundreds of civilians on an apparent whim. Even Senator Lindsey “Lickspittle” Graham seems annoyed with the Republican President over that mess.
So, yeah, a really bad week for the really bad President. If there weren’t the human carnage, WC might even be smiling. But as it is, the horrors visited on the Kurds make it impossible to enjoy the spectacle. Truly, everything Trump touches turns to sh*t.
- WC will pause here to note that D.C. Circuit Court Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, dissented from the decision, in an embarrassingly sycophantic opinion, denying Congress’s investigative powers when the matter might also involve criminal misconduct. It takes him 68 pages to say . . . he dissents. WC doesn’t usually criticize judges, but crikey, Judge Rao must have chapped lips. ↩