The Slatest

Trump Floats Idea of “Breaking Up” the Court Ruling Against Him Like an Old Fashioned Dictator

President Donald Trump feeling pretty thumbs up at Mar-a-Lago resort on April 13 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

One of Donald Trump’s favorite things to do, now that he is president, is to make up, and then try to impose, unconstitutional executive orders to change something he doesn’t like and doesn’t have the legislative chops to actually fix. The problem for Trump is that along with a president there is a judiciary in America. That judicial branch has taken to smacking its coequal brethren, the executive branch, upside the head with injunctions to put the brakes on the most odious aspects of Trump’s ambition. After two misfires trying to impose a Muslim ban, Trump’s latest legal defeat came on Tuesday when a federal judge presiding over the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California blocked the Trump administration’s vague plan to strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities. Following the setback, on Wednesday, the president of the United States floated his legislative plan B… tinker with the judiciary so that he can do what he wants!

More specifically, Trump told the Washington Examiner that he was considering a proposal to “break up” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where 18 of the 25 judges were appointed by Democratic presidents, and which covers Arizona, California, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington, Hawaii, and two U.S. territories.

“Absolutely, I have,” Trump said of considering 9th Circuit breakup proposals during a far-ranging interview with the Washington Examiner at the White House. “There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit. It’s outrageous.”

“Everybody immediately runs to the 9th Circuit. And we have a big country. We have lots of other locations. But they immediately run to the 9th Circuit. Because they know that’s like, semi-automatic,” Trump said…

“The language could not be any clearer. I mean, the language on the ban, it reads so easy that a reasonably good student in the first grade will fully understand it. And they don’t even mention the words in their rejection on the ban,” Trump said. “And the same thing with this [sanctuary city decision]…

The comments were an extension of Trump’s Twitter tantrum after the “sanctuary cities” decision.

Tuesday’s decision was, of course, not actually decided by the Ninth Circuit court, but that would be the next stop for Trump’s order and it was where portions of both of his Muslim bans were shot down. So, what’s Trump’s solution to the impasse? Rather than go back and write an order that fits within the confines of the American system of governance and abides by the principles laid out in the Constitution, the president of the United States would apparently prefer to simply “break up” the court that’s impeding him. You know who else does that? Dictators.