Now the law is whatever a federal judge says it is.
A federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court – William Alsup – ruled that President Donald Trump’s executive action phasing out the Obama-era DACA amnesty program is illegal and ordered the government to resume granting DACA waivers.
Trump announced the phase-out weeks ago, claiming the program established by his predecessor via executive order was illegal. In doing so Trump sought to throw creation of immigration law back into the laps of the lawmakers – Congress.
Alsup, a Bill Clinton appointee, ruled the program legal. In his ruling, Alsup concluded that without a nationwide injunction, DACA recipients would likely suffer irreparable harm, leading to harmful ripple effects on the nation’s economy and healthcare system.
The judge acknowledged there was no law creating the program, but he determined that because it had been supported by years of practice through both Republican and Democrat administrations it was as good as a law. Under his ruling, previously-approved DACA recipients had to be renewed but no new “Dreamers” would be allowed to apply.
In other words, Alsup doesn’t understand – or more likely doesn’t care – that only Congress is empowered under the Constitution to create laws (See Article I, Section 1). And judges are to rule only on the “Law and Fact,” not whether or how a law may affect the economy or social programs. Such considerations lie in the purview of politicians as they craft laws, not judges.
Alsup’s ruling is the very definition of judicial activism. He’s legislating from the bench, and in doing so he’s turned logic on its head. His ruling means that the president has the authority to create immigration law but does not have the authority to contravene or repeal a law created by the president.
Alsup’s ruling directly contradicts previous rulings by the 5th Circuit Court which ruled a program similar to DACA was illegal because it was contrary to immigration law and didn’t go through the proper channels.
Congress has once again abdicated its responsibility in the matter. It should act to lawfully create a program for amnesty, or not, at its discretion. But congressweasels are currently trapped between their sugar-daddies — those who line their pockets and contribute to their campaign coffers — and the voters
Congress could and should also exercise its authority under Article III, Section 2 and restrict further courts from interfering with immigration law.
And Trump should tell the 9th Circuit what Andrew Jackson told the John Marshall Supreme Court following its ruling in Worcester v. Georgia: “John Marshall has made his decision: now let him enforce it!”
But if you think the president, the Congress or the judges care about the Constitution, you’re fooling yourself. They are all employees of the government and their actions – with rare exceptions – benefit the government and not the people.