This Trump win will hit Trump haters hard.
A federal judge on Tuesday handed President Donald J. Trump a major victory in his plans to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico, dismissing a challenge from liberal groups that the administration abused its power to waive environmental laws to allow for the wall’s construction.
And for Trump supporters, the judge in the case makes the win all the sweeter.
In a 101-page ruling, Judge Gonzalo Curiel, of the Southern District of California, gave the greenlight for Trump’s plans to build the wall over the objections of leftist groups and the California state government (if that’s not redundant).
In the ruling, as reported by CNN, Curiel made it clear that Trump’s Department of Homeland Security was well within its rights to move ahead with the wall on national security grounds.
“Both Congress and the Executive share responsibilities in protecting the country from terrorists and contraband illegally entering at the borders. Border barriers, roads, and detection equipment help provide a measure of deterrence against illegal entries,” Curiel wrote.
“… Congress delegated to its executive counterpart, the responsibility to construct border barriers as needed in areas of high illegal entry to detect and deter illegal entries. In an increasingly complex and changing world, this delegation avoids the need for Congress to pass a new law to authorize the construction of every border project.”
Those are pretty definitive statements. And considering that the opposition, according to ABC News, was built on threats the wall allegedly poses to endangered species like the Quino checkerspot butterfly, the Riverside fairy shrimp and the Pacific pocket mouse, they’re pretty tough to argue with. (The Riverside fairy shrimp versus saving American lives? Not much of a contest.)
So it was a convincing win. But what makes it even more satisfying for the Trump side is the judge in the case, Gonzalo Curiel, is the same judge Trump famously tangled with on the campaign when Curiel was presiding over a lawsuit filed by students from the now-defunct Trump University.
In May 2016, Trump accused Curiel of being biased against him because of Curiel’s Mexican heritage. That caused no end of hand-wringing from the liberal media, which claimed Trump was smearing the judiciary by implying a judge’s ethnic background might influence judicial opinions (though Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor has repeatedly, and publicly, said exactly the same thing.)
With the wall case being heard during a recent streak of federal courts siding against Trump’s plans to end the Obama administration’s unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for illegal immigrants, liberals were doubtless expecting to notch up another victory.
After all, they had a lot of promising factors on their side: Momentum from recent court cases, a Hispanic judge who had allegedly been smeared by the man who would be president, and the country’s enormous bloc of Pacific pocket mouse supporters.
But Curiel had other ideas – basing his decision the Constitution itself, rather than some liberal fantasy of what the Constitution should say.
“In its review of this case, the court cannot and does not consider whether underlying decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent,” he wrote.
“… Here, the Court will focus on whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged law and whether the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security properly exercised the powers delegated by Congress.”
he answers to those questions were yes.
Naturally, the news was not greeted warmly in some liberal quarters.
— NBC Latino (@NBCLatino) February 28, 2018
No, Curiel’s ruling doesn’t make him a sellout.
What it does do is show that in a federal court system still dominated by Obama appointees (Curiel is one) and old-line liberal stalwarts (see, Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit), there are some judges willing to buck the current tide of anti-Trump fervor among the nation’s sometimes fatally biased judiciary.
In this case, Curiel ended up with a decision that might look like it’s going rogue to the liberal media and his fellow jurists, but it’s following the Constitution.
And that’s the kind of Trump win that hits Trump haters the hardest.