by Wayne Madsen, via Intrepid Report:
The much anticipated constitutional crisis many feared would come about under President Trump’s bombastic style of leadership took only one week into his administration to be realized. Trump’s Executive Order banning visitors, including U.S. permanent resident “green card” holders and those with valid U.S. visas, was one of the most poorly planned and implemented White House regulation in recent memory.
At airports across the world and at immigration checkpoints at airports across the United States, permanent U.S. residents were held in detention and some were put on planes back to their points of travel origination. When five federal judges issued temporary stays on the implementation of Trump’s executive order, the White House balked. For some reason, the Trump administration believes the judiciary is subservient to the executive branch.
It took one federal judge, John Sirica, the chief judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and a Republican nominated by Dwight Eisenhower, to show President Richard Nixon that his “imperial presidency” stopped with the federal judiciary. Sirica, who was a close personal friend of former heavyweight boxing star Jack Dempsey, went several rounds in court with the Nixon administration over the Watergate scandal. In the end, Sirica delivered a knockout punch to several of Nixon’s closest advisers and, eventually, Nixon resigned in disgrace.
The difference between Nixon and Trump is that Nixon, a lawyer and a former member of the U.S. House and Senate, understood the brinkmanship in which he was engaging with the courts and the independent special prosecutor. Trump, a pampered real estate mogul who was handed his wealth from his Nazi- and Ku Klux Klan-supporting father, Fred Trump, has not the first idea of what kind of constitutional fire he is playing with by ignoring the orders of five federal judges.
Certain pro-Trump media outlets—the “usual suspects”—are claiming the five judges are all Democrats. That is one of Trump’s “alternate facts.” The first judge to issue a stay on Trump’s visa ban executive order was Ann Donnelly, a former New York state prosecutor, who was nominated by Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. A native of Michigan and a graduate of Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, nothing suggests that Donnelly is a rank-and-file Democrat. In fact, the Republican Senate voted in 2015 to confirm Donnelly in a 95–2 vote.
When a number of New York City area politicians showed up at JFK International Airport with a copy of Judge Donnelly’s order and demanded the release of detainees, clueless Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents feigned ignorance because their ultimate boss, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, had not been briefed beforehand about Trump’s cockamamie and ill-prepared executive order.
The next judge to issue a temporary restraining order was Leonie Brinkema, a no-nonsense judge sitting on the bench of the national security “Rocket docket” of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria. So named the “rocket docket” court because it often sides with the government in national security-related cases, it would normally be the last court where a national security matter would be ruled against. However, Brinkema, who sentenced the “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui to life imprisonment in the Colorado “Supermax” prison, ruled that Trump’s executive order was stayed and that removal of green card holders from Dulles International Airport was suspended for seven days.
Brinkema also ordered lawyers be given access to those being detained at Dulles. That order was immediately ignored when lawyers and three U.S. House members, Virginia Representatives Don Beyer and Gerry Connolly, and Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, as well as New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, were denied access to the detained passengers at the airport by members of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) police. The airport cops are answerable not to the DHS or CPB but to the independent MWAA commission, members of which are appointed by the governors of Maryland and Virginia and the mayor of DC, with only three appointed by the president. The fact that glorified airport rent-a-cops disregarded a federal court order and those of three members of the House and one U.S. senator is a definite troubling bellwether of things to come.
The third judge to issue a stay on the White House order was Thomas Zilly of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. Zilly, who ordered all deportations stopped by Trump, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. So much for the brain dead meme by Trump supporters that the order was nullified by “Democrat judges,” a major “alternate fact” in Zilly’s case.
The fourth and fifth judges who temporarily stayed Trump’s deportation order were U.S. magistrate judge Judith Dein and District Court judge Allison Burroughs, both of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston. Dein was nominated by Bill Clinton and Burroughs by Obama. Both were confirmed by Republican-controlled Senates, Dein in 2000 and Burroughs in 2014.
There are comments on a number of dubious pro-Trump websites that are calling for “action” against the five judges. This is where certain Internet keyboard jocks should be very careful. Violence against federal judges by purveyors of the same neo-Nazi hatred advanced by Fred Trump in the 1920s and ’30s and by Trump counsel Steve Bannon today is not unknown in the United States. In 1989, U.S. Eleventh Circuit of Appeals Judge Robert Vance was assassinated by a mail bomb delivered to his Alabama home. Moody was also convicted for the assassination of civil rights lawyer Robbie Robinson in a mail bomb explosion at his home in Savannah, Georgia. The convicted assassin, Walter Leroy Moody, Jr., was a habitué of Klan meetings throughout the South. In 1979, Judge John Wood, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, was assassinated by Charles Harrison, a reputed member of the right-wing kill squad that assassinated President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. In 1988, Judge Richard Daronco of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan was assassinated by retired New York police officer Charles Koster, who then killed himself. The FBI revealed there were several “loose ends” in the case. In 2005, the husband and mother of U.S. Judge Joan Lefkow of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago were murdered at the judge’s Chicago home. Neo-Nazi Matthew Hale had previously been convicted of soliciting a contract hit man to assassinate Judge Lefkow.
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