An activist federal judge in Hawaii overreached his legitimate authority to block President Trump’s revised national security executive order. Judge Derrick Watson, an Obama appointee, used his 43-page opinion to wage a personal war against the president, hurling verbal insults at the Commander-in-Chief instead of providing legal analysis to justify his temporary restraining order (TRO). Rather than doing his job and interpreting the law—which fully supports the executive order—Judge Watson took the extraordinary step of making policy from the bench. This is now the second time a judge has jeopardized national security by blocking a legitimate executive order.
After his first national security executive order was outrageously blocked, President Trump issued a new one that would ensure foreign nationals are properly vetted before they are allowed to enter the U.S. The executive order is straight forward: individuals from six countries that are hotbeds for terrorism are temporarily barred from entering the country for 90 days. Additionally, the executive order suspends the resettlement of all refugees for 120 days and caps total refugees at 50,000 for the year. Unlike the original order which went into effect immediately, the new one delayed its start by 10 days so no one traveling would be impacted. Predictably, Judge Watson’s ruling came just hours before the travel freeze was set to kick in.
Simply put, Judge Watson’s decision is a clear example of judicial tyranny. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(f) gives the president unlimited authority to deny the entry of any aliens for any reason if deemed necessary to protect national security. Similarly, INA Section 207 gives the president full power to set the number of refugees the U.S. allows in each year. Yet, despite President Trump’s obvious legal authority, Judge Watson has prevented the administration from imposing both travel freezes. The judge also is preventing President Trump from decreasing the number of refugees from 110,000 (Obama’s level) to 50,000. Even the first activist judge conceded that the president has this power!
Unfortunately, it appears that the TRO will remain in place for some time because the appeal will go to the Ninth Circuit—the appeals court most overturned by the Supreme Court. At the end of the day, this unchecked power grab by activist judges who ignore the law because they disagree with the underlying policy is jeopardizing national security and impeding President Trump’s ability to protect the American people.