Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


The Alarming Reach by the Federal Courts

By Rob Tenery, MD on March 21, 2017

On Wednesday 15th of March, U. S. federal court Judge Derrick K. Watson blocked President Trump’s Executive Order that restricted immigration temporarily from six predominately Muslim countries. Judge Watson, a Barack Obama appointee in Honolulu, cited that his decision was based on disparaging comments about Muslims made by individuals associated with Trump’s campaign.

Of interest is that Obama and Watson were classmates at Harvard Law School and both graduated in 1991. It just so happened also that Obama made a surprise visit to Hawaii on Monday March 13th and was seen eating dinner at Noi Thai Cuisine on March 16th just one day after Watson issued a restraining order on Trump’s Executive Order and 3.3 miles from the Federal District Courthouse where it was filed.

According to the Star-Advertiser paper, Watson claims he has never met President Obama, even when they were in law school together. There is also no public information whether they have ever communicated in some way or not. That aside, their indirect ties and Obama’s reportedly, unscheduled arrival in Hawaii just two days before Watson filed his restraining order that applies nationwide, makes one question if there was a connection.

For those who might suspect collusion, let’s assume Obama, in his role as now a private citizen, urged Watson to issue his restraining order. Since Obama has no control over Watson, there doesn’t seem to be a crime committed even if that did occur.  But if there were communication about the filing between the two, however, the action would be judged as highly inappropriate, especially by a former president of the opposing political party.

The major point is the filing of a nationwide restraining order, apparently in opposition to federal legislation that clearly gives the sitting president the authority to restrict immigration as it pertains to a threat to national security, is of concern. To compound the violation of the power of the president is that Watson’s decision was based on disparaging comments made by those associated with the campaign and not included in Trump’s Executive Order. This is clearly a reach of judicial authority that should be thrown out by a higher court.

With the previous rejection by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals of Trump’s first Executive Order to temporarily restrict immigration from the six, predominately Muslim countries along with Iraq, the final decision will be decided by the Supreme Court. With the liberal and conservatives’ split on the Court, a decision will probably not occur until a new justice is confirmed to replace Antonin Scalia.

Something is terribly wrong with this country’s system of governance when a U.S. District Court Judge from a state, with population almost 1.5 million residents, can stop the executive actions of the President of the United States with an estimated population of 325 million. To make the situation even more concerning is the over-reach by the District Court Judge in what appears to be a violation of the Constitution by preventing President Trump from carrying out his responsibility to protect the citizens of this country.

Is this political? You bet it is!  Any blood spilled as a consequence of this delay to stop potential terrorists from entering this country is on Judge Derrick Watson’s hands, the judges on the 9th Circuit Court and all those who are complicit with them.





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