After learning that his “new and improved” Muslim ban was rejected by the courts on Wednesday, Trump reacted about as well as you would expect. As is typical, Trump lashed out at the judiciary, calling into question the motives and independence of the judges who ruled against him.
As it happens, one of the most conservative judges in the country, Jay Bybee, was on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel that declined to vacate the order blocking Trump’s new travel ban. Though Bybee dissented from the 9th Circuit’s opinion, he wrote a vehement defense of his judicial colleagues, including some strong words for Trump himself. From his dissent:
“The personal attacks on the distinguished district judge and our colleagues were out of all bounds of civic and persuasive discourse—particularly when they came from the parties. It does no credit to the arguments of the parties to impugn the motives or the competence of the members of this court; ad hominem attacks are not a substitute for effective advocacy. Such personal attacks treat the court as though it were merely a political forum in which bargaining, compromise, and even intimidation are acceptable principles. The courts of law must be more than that, or we are not governed by law at all.”
Bybee may not share many of our beliefs, but we commend him for defending the independence and legitimacy of the judiciary. For, until Republicans in Congress start putting the Constitution before the interests of their party, the judiciary is the only meaningful check on Trump’s power that exists.