Judge Bates’ power grab

Scott has embedded the opinion of Judge John Bates in NAACP v. Donald J. Trump. Judge Bates ordered the administration to restart the DACA program within 20 days because, in essence, he doesn’t think much of the administration’s policy reasons for ending the program.

I have plowed through the opinion. It reminds me of the scene in “Duck Soup” where Groucho Marx (Rufus T. Firefly) refuses to hear a matter because it’s “new business.” Then, when it’s time to consider new business, he rules that the matter can’t be heard because it’s “old business already.”

It’s a funny scene when Groucho plays it in “Fredonia.” When a federal judge plays it in real life, it’s neither amusing nor pleasant reading.

I will probably have more to say about Judge Bates’ decision, but not for a while. I’m not willing to spoil a weekend by diving back into this arrogant, legalistic shell-game of an opinion.

Instead, I’ll offer a few observation about Judge Bates.

First, he illustrates two phenomena: (1) the inability of past Republican administrations to avoid nominating judges who embrace the role of “robed master” and (2) the bipartisan contempt in which the Washington, D.C. legal community holds this administration — contempt that Bates makes little effort to conceal in his opinion.

Second, Bates worked with Brett Kavanaugh on Ken Starr’s team during the investigations of President Clinton. Let’s hope Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed quickly enough to take his place on the Supreme Court in time to hear the DACA case. And let’s hope he sees through and rejects the judicial power grab in which his former colleague has indulged.