With a new activist right wing on the Court, the Trump regime is wasting no time abusing its power:
To a far greater degree than its predecessors, the Trump administration has sought to bypass adverse lower-court rulings on some of its signature issues by seeking extraordinary relief from a refortified conservative Supreme Court.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco have repeatedly gone outside the usual appellate process to get issues such as the travel ban, immigration and greater authority for top officials before the justices.
To the surprise of exactly no one, the extremist wing of the Court ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross wouldn't have to testify about brazenly lying to Congress. He was caught when emails revealed the racist reasoning behind the citizenship question on the 2020 Census but he won't be held accountable because we are not allowed to hold the Trump regime accountable for anything. Ever.
And that's going to be the way of it going forward:
Sessions said in a recent speech that a robust response to what he considers activist judges is necessary to protect the separation of powers and to deter “encroachment” on the president’s power.
“If the judiciary can subject the executive branch to new, disruptive and invasive reviews, the power of the judiciary is enhanced, while the power of the executive has been diminished,” Sessions said in a speech prepared for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
“That is a tilt we cannot abide. Executive branch officers do not work for the judiciary. We work for the president of the United States.”
What Sessions is saying here is that courts no longer have a say in what the president decrees. But the president is still beholden to the rule of law. He is not an emperor. By so casually dismissing the role of the courts in upholding the legality of what executive branch officers do, Sessions is placing the executive branch above the law. That's the end of the constitutional separation of powers.
And that, of course, is the entire point. Republicans have long held that the separation of powers is a nuisance to be done away with. They've been working for decades to turn the courts into a rubber stamp for the presidency. But only when a Republican is in office, naturally. They know their ability to win elections is dwindling so they're preparing for decades of rule by judicial fiat and we're looking at the result of that plan.
This is why one of the first things the Democrats must do when they take back control of the government in 2020 is add 2-3 new Supreme Court seats and, if necessary, create as many new federal courts as needed to dilute the extremism the GOP has injected into the judiciary. Republicans have already broken the Senate and every time they take the White House they damage it further. If we want to save our government, we have to start aggressively pushing back and repairing the damage no matter how loudly the right howls in outrage.
Trump thinks he's above the law and he's going to abuse the Supreme Court to make good on that belief. If we allow him to get away with it, every Republican president going forward will do exactly the same thing and the United States will cease to be a democracy in any meaningful sense. We will be ruled by unelected Justices doing the bidding of the billionaires that placed them on the bench.