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We’re not even ten days into the Trump administration’s first 100 and we’re already getting a preview into one of the greatest political dramas of the next four years: President Trump versus the judicial oligarchs.

Following Trump’s executive order on immigration from countries at high risk for terrorism, screams of “Muslim bans” and religious tests – along with the typical open borders talking points – have re-entered public discussion in full force, with a federal judge issuing a stay on the matter late Saturday night, and the administration firing back.

Never mind that President Obama actually drew up the list of high-risk countries. Or that his administration also temporarily halted Middle East immigration in 2011 due to terrorism concerns, albeit with less fanfare, less vitriol, and leftist hysteria. Never mind that this is, as David French points out, more or less a return to the more cautious refugee policy of the early Syrian conflict.

The watchword for every step of the way, regardless of the merits of whatever case comes along, will be “constitutional crisis.” 

Yes, there do appear to be some procedural sticking points with the order itself, especially as it relates to green card holders. But as Daniel Horowitz and Chris Pandolfo explain in much greater detail, these are optical problems, rather than legal ones. The president has plenary power to exclude non-citizens from entry to the U.S. as he sees fit, even if that leads to politically detrimental airport standoffs.

The thing to remember, however, is that this would have happened regardless of notice. Even if Trump had waited for his legal team to take over the department, and even had he given a seven-day public notice, and even had he not included legal permanent residents, there would have been protests, hysteria, and heartstring-plucking profiles of Middle Eastern refugees at major newspapers.

Had the cross of every “T” and the dot of every “I” been reviewed by every Federalist Society expert in the contiguous United States, the federal judiciary – the only remaining vestige of Democrat governance to survive 2016 at the federal level – would have nonetheless put the brakes on the policy one way or the other.

Even though the action could only be referred to as a “Muslim ban” by the most dishonest propagandist the far-left has to offer, members of the "conservative” Trump opposition would have still lost their minds in an effort to define themselves away from a set of policies they pined for every time Barack Obama turned a blind eye to the global jihadist movement.

The watchword for every step of the way, regardless of the merits of whatever case comes along, will be “constitutional crisis.”

The administration has opted, in the form of a DHS press release, to “faithfully execute the immigration laws, and we will treat all of those we encounter humanely and with professionalism” because no “foreign national in a foreign land, without ties to the United States, has any unfettered right to demand entry into the United States or to demand immigration benefits in the United States.”

Now that a portrait of Andrew Jackson hangs in the Oval Office, however, it would seem President Trump will channel some of Old Hickory’s fighting spirit from the National Bank crisis: “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.”

As Horowitz pointed out during the transition period in relation to the EPA, the most effective opponents of the Trump agenda will not be the Democrat minority, but an out-of-control court system sympathetic to their pet causes – unless they are constitutionally reined in by Congress and confronted with a less subservient executive.

I remember my high school band director sitting down with me before a class and explaining how to properly appreciate a symphony. “Here’s the overture,” he’d say. “Take note of different sounds and themes that you hear in this. It’s setting the stage and you’ll hear them through the rest of the piece.”

Welcome to America’s production of Trump versus the judicial oligarchy; enjoy the overture. You’ll be hearing several variations for the next four years.



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Nate Madden is a Staff Writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, jihadism, and the judiciary. He previously served as the Director of Policy Relations for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative. A Publius Fellow, John Jay Fellow, Citadel Parliamentary Fellow and National Journalism Center alumnus, Nate’s writing has previously appeared in several religious and news publications. Follow him @NateMaddenCR and on Facebook

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