Dear John and Aaron – I feel I have your permission to return to Trumplandia one more time because, in this instance, I (gasp, choke) support Trump. I expect that such anomalies will be a rare occurrence, indeed, but one has to tell the truth as one sees it and, in this case, I side with Trump. I do not so much agree with Trump as I disagree with judge Watson. You guys deserve to win this one.
Hawaii judge, Derrick Watson, put a temporary hold on Trump’s revised travel ban. He was wrong. Trump will get that decision overturned. And, so he should.
Watson’s decision was based on the argument that Trump had ‘said’ publicly many times that he was intending to ‘ban Muslims’ and that those words have to be taken literally as religious persecution. On the face of it, that is logical.
But, on the flip-side of it, that reasoning is also illogical when applied to the actual lawyer-crafted written ban on the presidential order because the words in the travel ban did NOT say Muslims. In effect, Watson is taking some words literally (Trump’s electioneering blather) but not the most important words, the actual written words of the presidential order.
“…. when words lose their meaning and their capacity to bind those who use them, neither democracy nor the rule of law can long survive.” (that cuts both ways).
No sane person could disagree with that. Especially in law. However, it is also true that individual people can change their minds, alter their positions and even mis-speak. No one can (or should be) be held accountable for their words say, twenty years later. In fact, every negotiation is an example of ‘words’ changing as positions on an issue are altered to find agreement. That’s why we actually put things in carefully crafted wording on paper so that those finally-arrived-at words can extend accountability rather than one’s older, personal, off-the-cuff, first-position statements. Contract law is the very best example of that and Watson should know that.
In other words, I think Trump is a fool and loose-tongued bigot but the words that count are the ones that were actually written in the order. And the ones that were written are the ones that will be implemented. Those are the ones that should be judged.
I am pleased that Watson slapped down Trump because I do not like Trump but the judge’s reasoning is faulty and his decision was based on a wrong legal premise. I think Watson showed his bias. Trump’s order may remain overturned but NOT because of Watson’s reasoning.
The most interesting aspect of this incident is that the judiciary used the power of ‘words’ to make their decision (as they should) and Trump’s speaking-style is ignorant, bigoted and barely coherent so his own words undermined him. His bias has been showing for some time. He is his own worst enemy in a war of words. That is why he hires so many lawyers.
But I suspect that his lawyers actually came through for him on the travel ban and the wording was good even if I disagree with it. The 9th court of Appeals will likely overturn Watson not because of the correctness of the ban but because of Watson’s faulty reasoning.
Trump is also in ‘trouble’ with the words he uses when accusing Obama of wire-tapping his residence prior to the election. His ‘words’ aren’t right. So, if the next four years of political battle is to be waged with carefully scrutinized words, then Trump will have to take a back seat except when speaking like a fire-brand preacher to some populist choir.
Trump is much too vulnerable to real wordsmiths like lawyers and journalists. If the GOP is to govern, they are gonna have to muzzle that gibbering beast.