The liberal media treats it as a knee-slapping joke every time a conservative talks about liberal activist judges or, indeed, the liberal media. They view conservatives – especially those on the Trump-supporting end of the spectrum – as a legion of buffoons who buoy themselves by pretending they are victims of a left-wing conspiracy. “Facts have a well-known liberal bias,” they repeat to themselves with wide grins, so confident in their view of the world that they don’t wonder for a moment whether or not some of those “facts” aren’t exactly what they think they are.
Every now and then, though, a little piece of truth manages to penetrate the bubble. Guards rush to quarantine it and quickly remove it from the bubble so that it is never heard from again, but there is always a brief second or two where the liberal thinkosphere must blink, rub their eyes, and wearily acknowledge that, hmm, maybe the right WAS right about this after all. They’ll forget about it by this time next week – they always do – but no matter if the issue is Islamic terrorism, gun control, Obamacare, voter fraud or what, the evidence against their worldview is too overwhelming for them to dodge every spear.
This time around, the spear came in the form of an Associated Press review of the courts. No doubt, they embarked on this study in the hopes of proving that President Trump was just whining when he accused liberal judges of overstepping their bounds on immigration. But when the results came back, the AP had no choice but to admit (for today, at least) that Trump…well…he has a point.
“President Donald Trump has called courts unfair and political and repeatedly assailed the 9th Circuit, the U.S. court system’s westernmost division, where some of his key immigration policies have stalled,” the AP writes. “But is there any evidence politics plays a role in judicial opinions? An Associated Press review suggests it might.
“The AP looked at opinions by nearly 40 federal district court and appellate judges about Trump’s ban on travelers from mostly Muslim countries,” they continue. “It found only one judge nominated by a Democratic president has supported Trump’s authority to keep out all travelers or deport those who arrived just as the first ban took effect. With some exceptions, Republican nominees have taken a broader view of presidential power and rejected limits on the executive orders.”
To an extent, it stands to reason that conservative-leaning judges and liberal-leaning judges will arrive at different conclusions on certain legal cases. This is why the realm of the judiciary is politicized to any extent at all. The two camps have very different ways of looking at the law, the Constitution, and even the role the courts should play when it comes to interpreting the first two.
But when it comes to something like President Trump’s travel ban, there is no gray area where a liberal judge can come to a wrong, but reasonable, decision. To arrive at the decision these judges arrived at, you have to be actively pushing an agenda. You have to willfully go outside the boundaries of the law, pull from your own philosophy, and make what is blatantly and obviously a political decision. It is judicial malpractice of the most extreme kind, and it has colored the courts’ opinions over the past year in a way that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.
For all the talk about how Trump has violated the “norms” of U.S. politics, it is his opponents who have actually trashed those norms and burned them in the fireplace of activism. If there is permanent damage to our democracy lingering after this presidency is through, the blame for that damage will not belong to the president.