Rule of law prevails – for now

We can breath a cautious sigh of relief that the Executive Branch is now complying with the judicial stay on the Muslim travel ban. Trump continues to push for the ban, but through the constitutionally appropriate forums: the free press and the independent judiciary.

But is this all a set up? Trump launched a series of tweets against the stay, best distilled in these lines: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system.”

While Trump’s tweets may be nothing more than deliberate distraction or compulsive self-soothing of his fragile ego, taken at face value they appear designed to delegitimize the judicial branch. If an act of terror or war occurs — which Trump’s rhetoric and policies seem to be inviting — we are supposed to blame the courts? The judiciary’s constitutional duty is to protect individual liberties against populist prejudice and executive overreach. If the courts lose legitimacy, the path is clear for a government ruled not by laws but by a despot who claims only he can protect us.

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