Four Different Federal Courts Told Trump to Go F*ck Himself Yesterday
Yesterday, in federal courts from DC and New York to Texas and California, Trump got his ass handed to him.
That's right. In issues ranging from Trump's tax returns to screwing over immigrants and building his racist wall, federal judges around the country said "Fuck no" and put the kibosh on some of this fuckery. And since a Trump loss is basically always a win for humanity, let's put on our dancing shoes and celebrate these Nice Times!
DC Circuit: Turn over those tax returns, bitch!
Once again, Trump has lost a battle over turning over his tax returns. Once again, we're all waiting to see how he tries to get out of it.
Trump was handed a big loss yesterday in Trump v. Mazars, one of the roughly 5,286 cases Trump is currently litigating over his fundamental right to hide his apparently crime-riddled tax returns from the American people. A three judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit told him to turn his stinking tax returns over, already.
Trump filed Trump v. Mazars in response to a subpoena issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to his accounting company. House Oversight has plenty of legal authority to issue this subpoena, but of course the unindicted-co-conspirator-in-chief can't let anyone see his tax retuns, so here we are.
The DC Circuit took the opportunity to remind Trump that he is not, in fact, actually above the law, holding:
Contrary to the President's arguments, the Committee possesses authority under both the House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena, and Mazars must comply.
The opinion, penned by Judge David Tatel, reminded Trump that investigating presidential fuckery and protecting the American people from despots are actually important congressional functions. The court also definitely noted the pure absurdity of Trump's arguments, noting that even Nixon had apparently "tak[en] no issue with the general power of congressional committees to subpoena sitting Presidents[.]"
The court reminded Trump that checks and balances are actually good things that were intended by the Framers.
Though our journey has been long, we find ourselves at the end of a familiar tale. A congressional committee, as committees have done repeatedly over the past two centuries, issued an investigative subpoena, and the target of that subpoena, questioning the committee's legislative purpose, has asked a court to invalidate it. The fact that the subpoena in this case seeks information that concerns the President of the United States adds a twist, but not a surprising one: disputes between Congress and the President are a recurring plot in our national story. And that is precisely what the Framers intended. As Justice Brandeis wrote, "the doctrine of the separation of powers was adopted not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power." Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52, 293 (1926) (Brandeis, J., dissenting). "The purpose," he explained, "was not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among three departments, to save the people from autocracy."
House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings called the decision a "resounding victory" for Congress and said:
We must fulfill our stated legislative and oversight objectives and permit the American people to obtain answers about some of the deeply troubling questions regarding the President's adherence to Constitutional and statutory requirements to avoid conflicts of interest
Trump has three options at this point: accept the loss and let Mazars hand over his tax returns, ask the full DC Circuit to rehear the case, or appeal to the Supreme Court. Since Trump's tax returns apparently identify him as the Lindbergh baby's kidnapper or something, we're going to go ahead and guess he opts with option b or c. Nonetheless, this is a huge step in the right direction.
SDNY & ND Cal: Stop being evil and anti-American.
New York v. Department of Homeland Security, led by badass New York Attorney General Letitia James, challenges the Trump regime's disgusting attempt to deny green cards to immigrants receiving public assistance. On Friday, a federal judge sided with James -- and decency -- and blocked Trump and his cronies from denying permanent resident status to people because they've received public assistance.
In a fiery opinion, Southern District of New York Judge George Daniels issued a nationwide preliminary injunction and ripped the privileged sons of bitches at DHS a new one. Reminding DHS that welcoming the hungry and poor from other parts of the world used to be something Americans prided themselves on, Judge Daniels wrote
It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility. Immigrants have always come to this country seeking a better live for themselves and their posterity. With or without help, most succeed.
Neither did Judge Daniels take kindly to the administration's argument that immigrants who don't speak English fluently are more likely to become wards of the state. Calling the government's argument baseless, Daniels reminded the executive branch that "The United States of America has no official language,"and "Many, if not most, immigrants who arrived at these shores did not speak English. It is simply offensive to contend that English proficiency is a valid predictor of self-sufficiency."
Judge Daniels wasn't the only federal judge to issue an order blocking this evil rule on Friday. San Francisco-based Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the Northern District of California also issued a preliminary injunction blocking the rule on Friday. In San Francisco v. USCIS, Judge Hamilton similarly ruled against the proposed rule, though her order was limited to the districts that had joined California in its challenge -- Oregon, the District of Columbia, Maine, and Pennsylvania.
Both rulings are likely to be appealed and may end up in front of the Supreme Court before all is said and done. But at least for now, the rule blocking people who have fallen on hard times from getting green cards cannot be enforced.
Western District of Texas: That's not how this works.
Out in the Lone Star State, yet another federal judge ruled against Trump on Friday. In El Paso County v. Trump, Senior District Judge David Briones ruled that Trump's ridiculous "national emergency" declaration to build his racist wall on the southern border had been unlawful.
Noting that Congress explicitly refused to give Trump the $6 billion he wanted for his monument to racism along the southern border, Judge Briones found that Trump's attempt to divert over $6 billion from Department of Defense budget intended for military construction and drug programs violated the Consolidated Appropriations Act.
Judge Briones ordered the parties to submit additional briefing on the scope of the injunction. Stuart Gerson, a lead attorney for El Paso County and the Border Network for Human Rights called the decision a "win" and said that the plaintiffs would push for a nationwide injunction against using the stolen funds.
Are you sick and tired of all the winning yet?
Despite appointing 25% of the federal bench himself, Trump is racking up record losses in the judiciary. Back in March, the Washington Post found that federal judges had ruled against the Trump regime at least 63 times -- and that number only continues to increase. As the Post noted, even if Trump ultimately prevails on some of these cases on appeal, Trump's losses in court "paint a remarkable portrait of a government rushing to implement far-reaching changes in policy without regard for long-standing rules against arbitrary and capricious behavior."
Trump and his lackies have made it clear since day one that we can't rely on their good faith. For now, we just have to hope that the other two branches of government are still strong and independent enough to protect us from an orange, narcissistic, wannabe tyrant.
Who knows what new messes tomorrow may bring, but yesterday was a good day for the rule of law. And in 2019, it's important to step back for a moment and celebrate that.