Thursday, February 23, 2017

You Can't Make this Stuff Up

Every April, as income tax season arrived, Johnny Carson used to do a very funny bit on his show: He would simply read the income tax directions on his show, slowly, with increasing frustration and confusion. "Subtract line 45A from line 30 B."  It was a hoot. You could hear the audience roaring in the background.

Now we have the same opportunity afforded by our 45th President. 

Here he is explaining why his order to ban Muslims from entering the country is actually quite legal:

"They didn't write the statute they were making the decision about because every word of the statute is a total kill for the other side. So I though I would read it. And here's what it says. This is what it says: 'Whenever the President finds that the entryh of any aliens or any class of aliens into the United States--okay. So essentially, whenever somebody comes into the United States. Right? 'If it would be detrimental to the interest of the United States'--okay. Now you know the countries we're talking about and these were countries picked by Obama. They weren't even picked. They were picked by Obama."

So he gets a little lost here. He does not actually identify the statue he's talking about, but most people think it's the Immigration Act of 1952, passed during the McCarthy Red Scare era. 
And then he gets distracted by the countries.  I think he means the 7 countries in his own executive order, but then he gets off onto who actually put together this list, which he claims wasn't even him. It was Obama who was at fault, really. Mr. Trump just found these countries on a paper some woman in the parking lot gave him.

"'He may,' so the President may,'by proclamation and for such period as he shall deem necessary'...

And here he gets really distracted about whether the law talks about a male or a female president and he goes off on a long digression about how well he did with women voters and how women love him, which he knows because Melania--that's his wife--told him.

"So and it goes,'for such as he shall deem necessary to suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants or impose on aliens any restriction he may deem to be appropriate.' So basically it says the President has the right to keep people out if he feels it's not in the best interest of our country. Right? Unbelievable. Unbelievable. And I listened to these judges talk and talk and talk. So unfair."

Someone in the White House really ought to take the President aside and explain about laws and the Supreme Court and how when you argue a case before the Court, everyone can find some law which seems to support his side, but then the other side finds other law, which says something entirely different and the Court, the judges, then talk and talk and talk about which side has the best argument.

Then they usually say stuff like, "The one law you cited was a really bad law and violates this or that part of the constitution, so we are not going to listen much to that law, because we like another law better, which we think reflects the principles we like to find in the Constitution." 

This is what's called "Constitutional Law." 

Which is why you want to appoint this reincarnation of Roger Taney to be the next Supreme Court justice--a guy like Neil Gorsuch-- because he will always like the laws you like and vote the way you would vote.
(Roger Taney was the judge who ruled on the Dred Scott case, where a slave, Dred Scott sued for his freedom but the judge said he couldn't sue, he didn't have "standing" to sue because as a slave he was not a human being and only human beings can sue in the Supreme Court.)

Actually, Taney had a point, because in the Constitution mentions slaves right in Section 2 of article One, as "2/3 of all other persons."  So, if you are an "other person" you are not actually a human being person,  maybe at most 2/3 of a person, or that's the way Justice Taney saw it. You know Justice Scalia would have agreed with Justice Taney, because Justice Scalia was an "originalist" and there's nothing more original than 2/3 of a person, and Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee says he's just like Justice Scalia--an originalist.

2/3 of a person, Dred Scott

Recently, there's been a case about whether a dog could have standing in the Supreme Court, but now I'm getting distracted, like Donald.

Any way, someone ought to explain to the President about laws and how judges get to rule on whether what you do as President is legal. It's not like you are king. Or even it's not like you are a CEO. 

The President says these judges of the Ninth Circuit are not as smart as even bad high school students. 

That's kind of refreshing, don't you think? 
And why do they have to wear those robes? If they were so smart and if what they really cared about was the correctness of their arguments they wouldn't have to put on airs and robes. They could just wear T shirts and blue jeans like regular people and maybe a baseball cap that says "Make America Great Again."

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