More so than any modern president, Donald Trump has condemned the federal courts in no uncertain terms. Last year, the president went so far as to tell the public that the American judicial system “is broken.”
Lately, however, Trump sounds as if he thinks he’s “fixed” the courts.
Yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court ruling, concluding that the president could not scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It was obviously not what the White House wanted to hear.
But note the president’s posture on the issue from this morning’s Q&A with reporters:
“DACA, that was actually good news yesterday because you never win in the 9th Circuit if you’re on this half of the equation… The good news is, by rejecting DACA in the 9th Circuit yesterday, finally, we’ve been waiting for that, we get to the Supreme Court and we want to be in the Supreme Court on DACA. […]
“So this whole thing, it’s a terrible thing what’s happening with the courts. The DACA will now hopefully go to the Supreme Court where it will be given a fair decision.”
This comes less than two weeks after Trump went after the constitutional principle of birthright citizenship, arguing that he’s comfortable taking the issue to the Supreme Court.
Yesterday, the president unveiled a rather brutal new policy on asylum seekers, which the administration assumes will be tested in the courts. But two senior administration officials told NBC News yesterday that “with Justice Brett Kavanaugh now on the Supreme Court,” the White House “expects to win.”
Before Kavanaugh, Trump and his team couldn’t be sure the high court would allow the president to do as he pleases. Now, Republicans are beaming with confidence.
Two weeks ago, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was asked about the prospect of Democrats subpoenaing Trump’s tax returns. He replied that if Dems were to make such an effort, they would be “trapped into appealing to the Supreme Court, and we’ll see whether or not the Kavanaugh fight was worth it.”
The salience of the quote lingers for a reason.