Trump's attorney general has a real problem with federal courts upholding the law.
Attorney General William Barr is apparently very upset that courts are preventing Trump from breaking the law and ignoring the U.S. Constitution.
In a speech to the American Law Institute on Tuesday, Barr whined incessantly about federal courts issuing nationwide injunctions to stop the Trump administration from implementing policies that are likely unconstitutional.
The injunctions "frustrated presidential policy for most of the President's term with no clear end in sight," Barr said, adding that courts have issued a dramatically higher number of injunctions to stop Trump's policies than they have in the past.
Since Trump took office, federal courts have issued 37 nationwide injunctions to stop Trump policies from taking effect until they were reviewed further. During President Obama's first two years in office, that number was two.
"Some say this proves that the Trump Administration is lawless," Barr said, adding that he disagrees with that interpretation.
But the simplest explanation is the right one here. Courts are blocking a lot more of Trump's laws than Obama's because a lot more of Trump's laws are invalid or unconstitutional.
In one particularly misleading riff, Barr said that "the only case litigated on the merits in the Supreme Court — the so-called 'travel ban' challenge — ended with President's policy being upheld."
Barr was referring to the Muslim ban, which Trump initially issued one week after he took office. Barr ignored the fact that Trump's first two attempts at a Muslim ban were so blatantly unconstitutional that the Trump administration abandoned them after courts issued nationwide injunctions.
It was Trump's third attempt to ban Muslims from traveling to the U.S. that was finally allowed to stay in place despite strong opposition from the dissenting members of the Supreme Court.
Despite Barr's claim that the Trump administration isn't "lawless," the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr himself in contempt of Congress for lawlessly ignoring a subpoena. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has also refused to follow the law and hand over Trump's taxes.
Barr has made clear that he does not think the law applies to himself, Trump, or the administration. While his views may be shared by Republicans in Congress, the judicial branch is still there to act as a check on abuses of power.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.