Saturday, February 11, 2017

Our Legal System is Broken?

It is often difficult to tell whether President Trump is deliberately lying or is simply ignorant. A good example is one of his Tweets from this morning (11 Feb): "Our legal system is broken! '77% of refugees allowed into U.S. since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries.' (WT) SO DANGEROUS!"
There seems to be both ignorance and mendacity here.

The "77%" statistic is probably true, at least according to the Washington Times article Mr. Trump is quoting. But anyone reading the article, rather than just glancing at the title, quickly gets an understanding of the problem that is quite different from the President's claim. The sudden uptick in the number of refugee applications being processed from the "seven suspect countries" comes from within the State Department, not the courts. The Temporary Restraining Order only prohibited the administration's newly implemented restrictions, it didn't require any accelerated processing for those recently denied or likely to be denied entry in the near future. The State Department, of course, is part of Trump's administration, directly under his control. The failure here is with the President himself, not the courts.

No, our legal system is not "broken." Many conservatives, like Mr. Trump, have difficulty remembering that the federal government consists of three distinct powers, and that the judiciary is one of those. The "legal system" is doing exactly what it should do when the executive branch behaves with such incompetence that it gives explicit evidence of acting with discriminatory intent and creates upheaval in the lives of individual people.

Our inexperienced President and his equally inexperienced administration have only two choices. They can either fume ineffectively every time they don't get their way trying to govern by fiat, or they can learn to work together with Congress and the Courts. Unfortunately, the crash course they must undergo will generate a great deal of turmoil for ordinary Americans and around the world.

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