Two persistent themes mark the Trump administration: Spontaneity, and cruelty. Late Tuesday night, U.S. District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw in San Diego ordered the government to end one product of those two themes – separating migrant children from their parents. The judge also ordered the government to reunite the families within 30 days, or within 14 days for minors under the age of 5.
A federal judge in San Diego late Tuesday managed to achieve something the president and Congress have failed to do: Resolve President Trump’s self-inflicted crisis of separating children from their migrant parents.
It turns out the solution is pretty simple: Reunite them. Judge Dana M. Sabraw gave the government 30 days to get all the kids back with their parents, and 14 days for kids under the age of 5.
What matters most in the Supreme Court’s decision in Trump vs. Hawaii is the bottom line: a 5-4 ruling that the president didn’t violate the law or the Constitution in imposing the third version of what he himself calls a travel ban. The outcome of the case fully justifies Trump’s exuberant tweet this morning: “SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!”
But if Trump reads Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s majority opinion and a concurring opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, he might be less jubilant. Both justices made it clear that, while they believe Trump acted lawfully in blocking the entry of foreign visitors and immigrants from several mostly Muslim-majority nations, they weren’t endorsing Trump’s ugly statements about Muslims.
In the case of Roberts’ opinion for the court, you had to squint to see the criticism between the lines. After citing Trump’s various problematic statements about Muslims — including his notorious campaign proposal for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — Roberts wrote:
There’s an odd irony in Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision upholding President Trump’s ban on travelers from some predominantly Muslim countries. While insisting that the controversial travel ban was crafted in a legal manner, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., almost as an aside, issued a long-overdue rejection of the court’s notorious 1944 Korematsu decision, which allowed the government, in the interest of national security, to force 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans from their homes and place them in internment camps.
The internment was among the darkest and most shameful moments in American history, and the court’s acquiescence is generally viewed as among its biggest mistakes, along with the 1857 Dred Scott decision that African Americans — free or slave — were not citizens, and the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson decision that upheld segregation and Jim Crow laws.
Iconic U.S. motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson announced Monday that it was shifting more production overseas in response to a 31% tariff the European Union agreed last week to slap on its products. The EU imposed the levy, which would add about $2,200 to the price of a bike, in response to the tariffs President Trump unilaterally imposed on global steel and aluminum imports in the name of national security.
Trump tweeted Monday that he was surprised that Harley-Davidson would “wave the White Flag” because “ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U.” The president seemed to be saying that he’s not really serious about imposing tariffs or starting a trade war — a suggestion echoed, kinda sorta, by Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro on Monday afternoon in a successful bid to calm a tanking stock market. The EU, obviously, thinks otherwise.
The third time was the charm. The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the third iteration of President Trump’s travel ban on people from some predominantly Muslim-majority countries was facially neutral and that the government had “set forth a sufficient national security justification” for the policy. That’s the legal threshold. But only an amnesiac would forget the clear animus to immigrants — with a special nasty focus on Muslims — that Trump exhibited on the campaign trail and that that propelled this foolish and counterproductive policy.
One of the first things Trump did after taking office was to act on his campaign statement that he wanted a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the U.S. That position was forged in reaction to violent attacks around the world by Islamic extremists – including the mass shooting in San Bernardino by an American-born Muslim and his Pakistani wife – and the then-raging war against Islamic State, and it was framed by deplorable perceptions among Trump and his nativist advisors that the actions of the few indicted the many.
Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — a.k.a. the “gay-wedding cake case” — ended anticlimactically earlier this month. The Supreme Court ruled for Christian baker Jack Phillips, who refused to “create” a wedding cake for a gay couple, but it did so based on a secondary, more procedural issue.
On Monday the court essentially sidestepped a similar case involving a florist in Washington state that might have allowed it to confront the issues it dodged in the wedding-cake case. Instead, it asked the Washington Supreme Court to give the case further consideration in light of the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling.
In appealing a finding that he had violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, Phillips had made two 1st Amendment arguments. One was that being required to use his talents to create a cake for a same-sex wedding celebration was a form of "compelled speech"; the other was that it would violate his right to the free exercise of religion.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had herself a weekend, after the owner of a Lexington, Va., restaurant politely pulled her aside and asked her to leave — the horror! — because of her complicity in the administration’s anti-LGBT policies and their abhorrent efforts to separate migrant children from their parents and lock them in cages.
Naturally, this being 2018, Sanders whinged about her treatment on Twitter.
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so
Remember, this is the same Sanders who only weeks ago used her platform to celebrate the Supreme Court “Cakeshop” ruling that allowed a baker to openly discriminate against LGBT clientele. There is nothing respectful about her.
In the latest episode of Politicians Behaving Badly, a senior Democratic congresswoman and the president of the United States took turns calling on their followers (in thinly veiled fashion) to go rough up the other side.
First, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Impeach Trump), almost but not quite invoking Winston Churchill, called on Americans to oppose top officials in the Trump administration wherever they encounter them.
“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she told a crowd in Los Angeles rallying against the administration’s now-renounced policy of separating migrant families at the border.
So it’s probably expecting too much to hope that a president with dreams of autocracy would care about due process.
On Sunday morning, as Trump headed for yet another outing at one of his golf courses, he tweeted that immigrants in the U.S. illegally should not receive due process but be summarily deported – which would violate international law and treaties.