Now let them enforce it

Dan Rather on Trump’s outrageous attacks on a federal judge:

When James Robart, who was appointed by George W. Bush and approved for the bench by a 99-0 vote in the Senate, had the audacity to rule against the Trump Administration’s immigration ban, you knew a tweet was coming.

And the President lived up (or down) to expectations:
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

This reminded me of another statement from a former president who was previously considered our most autocratic and controversial, and who also swept to office on a populist wave – Andrew Jackson. When Chief Justice John Marshall ruled against him in a case involving Native American rights, President Jackson was quoted as quipping – “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” You can only imagine what Jackson would do on Twitter.

The reality is of course that our courts do not possess an army or law enforcement organization. They gain their power through our legal and democratic traditions. These are under attack. And this is deeply worrisome. Are we going to allow the very basis for our democracy to be threatened in this manner? Every one of us, regardless of political persuasion, must think hard on the answer to that question. Either we step up to defend our judges and courts from this type of intimidation or we do not. This is not the first time Donald Trump has lashed out in this manner and it won’t be the last. This is not a matter of policy but the future of our Constitutional form of government.

We have separation of powers for a reason. It is the bedrock of our nation. These attacks are unconscionable, intolerable, and we as a people are in the process of deciding whether or not they will be normalized.

That’s the issue, isn’t it. Like, I imagine, a lot of people, I didn’t realize how entirely unenforceable that separation of powers is. I did think people who said “checks and balances” would mean Trump couldn’t be all that terrible were being delusional, but I didn’t realize there was just nothing.

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