Posts Tagged ‘executive powers’

Trump slams the courts; his Supreme Court nominee hits back — Court decision expeceted today on Trump’s refugee and immigration executive order

February 9, 2017

The Associated Press

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President Donald Trump speaks to the Major County Sheriffs’ Association and Major Cities Chiefs Association, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s extended criticism of the judiciary prompted a rebuke Wednesday from his nominee for the Supreme Court, who told a senator that the president’s comments were “demoralizing and disheartening.”

Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by Trump to the nation’s high court last week, made the comments after Trump accused an appellate court considering his immigration and refugee executive order of being “so political.” During the weekend, the president labeled a judge who ruled on his executive order a “so-called judge” and referred to the ruling as “ridiculous.”

Gorsuch’s comments came at the end of his first full week of meetings in the Senate, which is considering his nomination. His response may have been aimed at drawing a line of separation from the new president, who has been politically polarizing figure among Democrats in a highly charged partisan fight over the court.

Prior to the judge’s meeting on Capitol Hill, Trump slammed the court that is deliberating his immigration and refugee executive order, telling a group of police chiefs that his immigration order was “done for the security of our nation.”

He quoted from the portion of the immigration law that he said gave him the power to enact the ban, calling it “beautifully written” and saying “a bad high school student would understand this.”

“Courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what’s right,” he added. “And that has to do with the security of our country, which is so important.”

Trump’s comments came as the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is weighing the appeal of his executive order on immigration, including a temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries. In a hearing Tuesday, judges on the appeals court challenged the administration’s claim that the ban was motivated by terrorism fears, but also questioned an attorney’s argument that it unconstitutionally targeted Muslims.

Since a lower-court judge blocked the order last week, Trump has assailed the decision, leading legal experts, Democrats and some Republicans to question whether the president’s remarks might jeopardize the independence of the judiciary. Others have expressed fears he may be attempting to use political influence to sway the courts.

Gorsuch joined the criticism in a meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Blumenthal, a former state attorney general, said Gorsuch described the president’s comments about the judiciary as “demoralizing and disheartening.” Gorsuch’s confirmation team confirmed the judge’s comments.

Blumenthal told reporters that he had told the judge he would need to condemn Trump’s attacks on judicial independence publicly.

“It needs to be a strong condemnation and that kind of public condemnation is important to establish his independence,” Blumenthal said. “Otherwise, the American public will conclude that he is more likely to be a rubber stamp.”

In his speech, Trump sought to link his comments about the court battle over his executive order to the law enforcement community in attendance.

“We have to allow you to do your job,” he said. “And we have to give you the weapons that you need, and this is a weapon that you need and they’re trying to take it away from you.”

The president has repeatedly said people are “pouring in” since the ban was put on hold and suggested that blocking the order would be dangerous for U.S. citizens.

On Wednesday morning he tweeted, “Big increase in traffic into our country from certain areas, while our people are far more vulnerable, as we wait for what should be EASY D!”

The administration has not provided any information to support his claims.

Customs and Border Protection, the agency in charge of screening people who arrive at U.S. ports, including airports, has not responded to multiple requests to detail how many visa holders from the seven designated countries have been allowed into the United States since a federal judge temporarily blocked the government from implementing the travel ban.

The State Department previously said fewer than 60,000 visas were provisionally revoked after the order was signed and those people would now be allowed to travel to the U.S. Trump’s order banned travel to the U.S. for people from Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. It also suspended the country’s refugee global program.

As of Wednesday afternoon 641 refugees from 13 countries, including five whose citizens were barred from the U.S. under the travel ban, had arrived since a federal judge in Washington ruled against the government.

During his meeting with police leaders, Trump also continued his promises to reduce violence in Chicago, saying that “no one in America should be punished” because of their birthplace. He pledged to provide resources to police departments and promised “zero tolerance” for violence against law enforcement.

Trump also promised to work on combating drug abuse and said there should be resources to deal with a “mental health crisis.”

Hundreds of members of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and Major County Sheriff’s Association were in the standing room crowd, some in uniform but the majority in plain clothes.

They snapped photos with their phones as the president spoke, but clapped sparingly when he asked whether they were in agreement with his views on the immigration ban. His comments about combatting drug abuse and the targeting of police officers drew a more unanimous response from the crowd.

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Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey, Alicia Caldwell and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

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Why courts could rein in executive power – after decades of allowing it — Supreme Court Nominee Calls Trump’s Attacks on Judiciary ‘Demoralizing’

February 9, 2017
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The legal pushback to President Trump’s travel ban is part of a growing number of legal challenges in recent years to the expansion of presidential power.
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By Henry Gass
February 8, 2017

During a hearing Tuesday on President Trump’s travel ban, Ninth Circuit Judge Michelle Friedland asked a question.

Was the Trump administration arguing that the president could do what he wanted on national security matters and the courts had no authority to step in?

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Judge Michelle Friedland (r) of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco

The lawyer representing the Justice Department paused, and then answered: “Yes.”

Recommended: Trump’s 12 biggest executive actions, explained

The answer was shocking to some legal watchers: Since Marbury v. Madison in 1803, the judiciary has served as the ultimate arbiter of the law and a check on the other branches of government.

But in other ways, the answer was simply stating the reality of much of the past century. Until recently, the courts have deferred when asked to check the steadily expanding power of the executive branch. That was a matter for the president to work out with Congress, the legal thinking went.

But now there are signs that the judiciary may be increasingly willing to pull back on the reins – at least a bit. And regardless of whether Mr. Trump’s individual executive order is upheld or not, the high-profile legal battles over it seem to be drawing more public – and judicial – attention to how executive power has expanded, and its potential consequences.

“We need to be aware that the decisions the courts are making, and the assertions the Trump administration is making in these cases, are going to apply not only to these cases but to assertions of executive authority in the future,” says Steven Schwinn, an associate professor at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

The growing willingness to scrutinize executive power can be traced at least partly to the recent rise in legal challenges, experts say. As George W. Bush and Barack Obama pushed the limits of executive authority, legal pushback has grown.

“The Supreme Court has reined in the more extreme claims of executive authority that we have seen in the last two presidential administrations,” says Professor Schwinn.

There was widespread litigation, particularly from civil liberties groups, over many of Mr. Bush’s actions responding to the 9/11 attacks, and Republican state attorneys general systematically challenged many of Mr. Obama’s executive actions.

Now Trump is issuing a flurry of his own executive orders, including the one currently before a panel of the Ninth Circuit. It bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days. It also prevents entry for all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halts the admission of Syrian refugees.

The Ninth Circuit is considering whether to uphold a federal judge’s decision to block the order. Its ruling is expected within days, and the case is considered likely to end up at the US Supreme Court.

ROOTS OF EXECUTIVE POWER

The Constitution doesn’t actually endow the president with much unilateral authority. Coming out of a monarchy and wary of concentrating power in an individual, the Framers granted the president only one independent power: the ability to issue pardons and reprieves.

“Obviously that has changed significantly over time,” says Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and an expert on presidential power.

Most scholars trace this expansion to Franklin Roosevelt, who entered the White House at the nadir of the Great Depression and launched an aggressive, executive-driven agenda to revive the country. His flurry of actions during his first 100 days in office transformed Americans’ views and expectations of what the president should do.

There is now an “underlying assumption” that a president should do as President Roosevelt did, says Dr. Rozell, author of “Executive Privilege: Presidential Power, Secrecy, and Accountability.”

Specifically, a president is expected to come in “with a bold vision, an activist agenda, and a plan to bulldoze it through Congress,” he adds.

There may be valid reasons for broadening executive powers, says Ernest Young, a constitutional law professor at Duke University School of Law.

The executive branch is inherently the most nimble branch, and can respond quickest to crises and emergencies. As the branch has grown, it has also accrued more expertise on subjects from housing and water quality to space travel and terrorism.

COURTS AND CONGRESS HAVE BEEN ENABLERS

But presidents haven’t been the only ones to expand executive powers. Most of presidents’ current powers have been delegated by Congress and upheld by the federal court system.

Part of Trump’s justification for his order, for example, is that the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, passed by Congress, gives him the power to suspend the entry of “any class of aliens” into the US if it “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” (Opponents disagree with this interpretation.)

Congress has also enacted laws giving the president broad discretion in war, national security, and foreign policy. The legislature has also expanded the executive branch itself, creating agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (in 1970) and the Department of Homeland Security (in 2002).

The court system has largely played along. Part of this stems from the judiciary’s fundamental role in government – to not be a rulemaking body, but to assess the legality of rules enacted by Congress and the president. Yet the judicial branch has also arguably facilitated the decades-long expansion of executive power.

The Chevron doctrine, for example, originates from a 1984 Supreme Court case. It holds that, if Congress passes an ambiguous law, the executive branch regulatory agencies should be able to interpret those laws – unless the agencies’ interpretations are unreasonable.

Meanwhile, for the past 80 years, the high court has essentially ignored the doctrine that there are constitutional limits – to be determined by the judiciary – on the legislative powers that Congress can delegate to the executive. Since 1935, the court has never found a delegation of power by Congress to the executive unconstitutional.

Essentially, the court “has been upholding any and all delegations of power to the president” since 1935, says Professor Young.

A SHIFT IN THINKING

But the increased attention has seen the courts begin to check executive power a bit more.

“I’m not sure the courts are interested in particular in reining in executive power, but I do think [they] are taking a closer look at these cases,” says Schwinn.

Furthermore, a number of judges and scholars – including Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court – have become increasingly critical of the Chevron doctrine. While that doctrine is unlikely to come up in any travel ban litigation, it is another sign that the judicial tide could be turning against the expansion of executive power.

For now, Trump’s executive orders appear to be drawing even more public attention – and judicial scrutiny – to how executive power has expanded.

“Sometimes those delegations [of power] are made on the assumption that this power is never going to be exercised by someone who you’d worry what they’d use it for,” says Young.

“I would love to see one legacy of this be that Congress takes a look at some of these very broad delegations and narrows them.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2017/0208/Why-courts-could-rein-in-executive-power-after-decades-of-allowing-it

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Supreme Court Nominee Calls Trump’s Attacks on Judiciary ‘Demoralizing’

WASHINGTON — Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, privately expressed dismay on Wednesday over Mr. Trump’s increasingly aggressive attacks on the judiciary, calling the president’s criticism of independent judges “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”

The remarks by Judge Gorsuch, chosen by Mr. Trump last week to serve on the nation’s highest court, came as the president lashed out at the federal appellate judges who are considering a challenge to his executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The president called their judicial proceedings “disgraceful” and described the courts as “so political.”

Those remarks followed Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst in which he derided a Seattle circuit court judge who blocked his travel ban as a “so-called judge” whose “ridiculous” ruling would be overturned.

Judge Gorsuch expressed his disappointment with Mr. Trump’s comments about the judiciary in a private conversation with Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, as he paid courtesy calls on Capitol Hill to build support for his confirmation. An account of the discussion was confirmed by a White House adviser working to advance the Gorsuch confirmation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/08/us/politics/donald-trump-immigration-ban.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

President Obama’s Bypass of Congress to Take Charge of Climate Change

November 2, 2013

By  Associated Press and Daily Mail Reporter

 

President Obama used his executive powers on  Friday to create a ‘Task Force on Climate Preparedness and  Resilience.’

Obama’s plan would be put in place  through  executive order, bypassing Congress, which has stalemated over  climate  legislation in recent years.

A year after Superstorm Sandy devastated the  East Coast, the President signed the order which is designed to make it easier  for states and local governments to respond to weather disasters.

Trick or treat? President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama give Halloween treats to children at the White House.
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Trick or treat? President Barack Obama and first lady  Michelle Obama give Halloween treats to children at the White House. On Friday  Obama used executive powers to create a ‘Task Force on Climate Preparedness and  Resilience’

The executive order establishes a task  force  of state and local officials to advise the administration on how  to respond to  severe storms, wildfires, droughts and other potential  impacts of climate  change.

The task force includes governors of seven  states – all Democrats – and the Republican governor of Guam, a U.S. territory.

Fourteen mayors and two other local leaders  also will serve on the task force. All but three are Democrats.

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The task force will look at federal money  spent on roads, bridges, flood control and other projects.

It ultimately will recommend how structures  can be made more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea  levels and warming temperatures.

The White House said the order recognizes  that even as the United States acts to curb carbon pollution, officials also  need to improve how states and communities respond to extreme weather events  such as Sandy.

Destruction: Satellite image from October 2012 of Superstorm Sandy on the eastern seaboard. A year after Sandy devastated the East Coast, President Obama signed an order .
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Destruction: Satellite image from October 2012 of  Superstorm Sandy on the eastern seaboard. A year after Sandy devastated the East  Coast, President Obama signed an order which is designed to make it easier for  states and local governments to respond to weather disasters

Building codes must be updated to address  climate impacts and infrastructure needs to be made more resilient, the White  House said in a statement.

The task force includes Govs. Jerry Brown of  California, Jay Inslee of Washington and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, as well as  Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Vermont Gov. Peter  Shumlin and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

The panel also includes several big-city  mayors, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Philadelphia Mayor Michael  Nutter and Houston Mayor Annise Parker. All three are Democrats.

An administration official who asked not to  be identified said the White House asked several organizations, including the  National Governors Association, to recommend task force members.

Members were chosen based on those who were  recommended or who nominated themselves, the official said.

The official asked to not be identified  because he was not authorized to discuss the task force makeup.

Flood: Inundated farmland next to the Mississippi River in TennesseeFlood: Inundated farmland next to the Mississippi River  in Tennessee. The new task force will ultimately recommend how structures can be  made more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels  and warming temperatures

The task force builds on efforts Obama  announced in June to combat global warming, including the first-ever limits on  climate pollution from new and existing power plants.

Obama’s plan is intended to reduce domestic  carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent between 2005 and 2020.

The plan also would boost renewable energy  production on federal lands, increase efficiency standards and prepare  communities to deal with higher temperatures.

The 12 hottest years on record all have  occurred in the past 15 years. The task  force on resiliency is expected to hold its first meeting this  winter.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2483977/Obam
a-takes-control-climate-change-policies-executive-order-bypass
-Congress.html#ixzz2jUPn484h

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