President Trump admires Andrew Jackson. He sees himself as Jacksonian.
Accordingly, it might instructive to recall how President Jackson is said to have responded when the Supreme Court ruled, in Worcester v. Georgia, that Georgia laws calling for the seizure of Cherokee lands violated federal treaties. Here is the statement Jackson may have made:
John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.
Jackson may never have uttered these words. However, both Georgia and Jackson ignored the Supreme Court’s decision. Chief Justice Marshall’s decision was never enforced.
At the rate liberal judges are going, we might see similar defiance of the judiciary by President Trump. I don’t expect Trump to respond that way if the ruling that he cannot temporarily ban immigration from six countries fails to survive judicial review. That ruling doesn’t seem important enough to defy the judiciary over.
But what if the judiciary overturns the president’s decision to cut the number of refugees the U.S. will accept from 100,000 to 50,000 per year? Neil Munro of Breitbart reports that a federal judge in Maryland today indicated that he will consider whether to do just that once the issue has been fully briefed. (As Munro explains, this mischief occurs in a footnote to the judge’s opinion rejecting the temporary ban on immigrants from six nations.)
If the Maryland judge were to order the administration to admit 100,000 refugees per year, and if this ruling somehow were to survive judicial review, I can see President Trump adopting Andrew Jackson’s defiant approach. There is something particularly egregious about judges deciding how many immigrants must be injected into American communities. I’m not sure Trump would tolerate this.
More generally, if liberal judges continue to wage war against the Trump administration through the kind of ridiculous, made-up law being fashioned in the immigration order cases, it seems quite likely that at some point in the not-too-distant future President Trump will refuse to obey the robed politicians.
Andrew Jackson got away with it. He won his fight with John Marshall. If Donald Trump picks his case shrewdly, he might well win too.