Supreme Court justices are not prone to toss around words like “unprecedented” lightly. That should tell the observer something about the handling of this case.
Unequal Treatment Before the Law
As for Thomas’s assertion that the Supreme Court’s ruling was based on an “administration-specific standard,” little could be more inconsistent with the law, which is supposed to treat people, including presidents, equally. It is breathtaking to behold the court’s extreme intrusion into the Commerce Department’s business, halting one of its plainly discretionary actions on grounds that Thomas says had never even been contemplated before, given the extreme deference with which the courts have treated our mushrooming administrative state for decades.
It bears noting that in a separate opinion, Justice Samuel Alito went so far as to say that the inclusion of the census citizenship question “may not be challenged under the APA” altogether. In other words, the majority’s view was truly extraordinary, even for some of the court’s least sympathetic judges to the administrative state. More on the deference issue momentarily.
Last but not least, since when is the Supreme Court in the business of going beyond constitutionality to mind-reading as to why bureaucrats devise policies that are constitutional? It seems the court itself engaged in projection. Was not the court’s own decision “pretextual,” seeing as it took something that was constitutional and found, in its own words, a “contrived” reason to block it? Was not the admission of constitutionality here a tell that the merits mattered not to the court?
Of course, even if the Trump administration had myriad reasons for including the question, and even if we played devil’s advocate and assumed some of the reasons were political, if the citizenship question is constitutional, again, shouldn’t that be the end of it?
The administrative state is self-evidently not independent and apolitical. One need only look at the resistance of the contemporary administrative state to its chief executive, President Trump, to see this proven in real time. But duly elected congressmen and presidents, not courts, are supposed to determine what and how policy is administered.
Undermining the Legitimacy of the Supreme Court
Further undermining the legitimacy of this ruling is the challenge in squaring the chief justice’s apparently pretextual opinion with his other rulings this term, and his overall view of his role as protecting the integrity of the Supreme Court. The Wall Street Journal editorial board highlights Justice Roberts’ apparent hypocrisy:
Should not someone as dedicated to stare decisis and the purported independence of the judiciary as Justice Roberts have practiced what he preached?
When a court rules against something clearly legal, on an invented rationale that arguably should have never even been considered, can this be perceived as anything other than a political act? Occam’s Razor suggests that the court’s attribution of bad faith to the Trump administration seems to be based above all in one core belief that can be summarized in three words: “Orange man bad.”
The sliver of a silver lining in the tortured majority opinion, if this ruling was applied broadly and taken to its logical conclusion, would be that the entire administrative state could collapse on itself since virtually every decision made by its bureaucrats could be attacked as pretextual.
A Double Standard?
While there is a larger contingent of Supreme Court justices hostile towards rule-by-agencies than ever before, it seems clear that the court’s progressives and chief justice would not let this happen. Does anyone believe a President Obama or even a President Bush would have had his administration’s actions subjected to such a standard?
President Trump is being held to a standard all his own. That means we are fast-approaching a time without standards.
The Supreme Court remanded the question to the district court from whence the case came, allowing the Trump administration the opportunity to try to rectify the “pretext” issue. President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have declared it would be practically impossible to accomplish this and fight the outstanding litigation in time to get the question incorporated into the 2020 census.
Instead, the administration’s workaround is to take executive action enabling it to collect data from a variety of federal agencies in an attempt to compile population numbers by citizenship status. That the court forced the administration into a series of unsatisfactory choices to collect this data is in and of itself terrible.
If the president cannot get a fair hearing at the most sacrosanct institution of law, then our system has no legitimacy. What the Supreme Court has said here is that we are a nation of men, not laws, and thus, that we may have no justice at all.
While according to Barr the Trump administration was loathe to consider flouting the Supreme Court on this issue, it is becoming apparent that at some point the administration is going to need to take on the rolling, true constitutional crisis created by the acts of judicial supremacy we are witnessing today. Absent such a response, the Supreme Court is likely to continue thwarting perfectly lawful administration policy, just as lower courts have done with universal injunctions. Our republican system of government may well demand it.
But let me add my 2 cents.
Justice Roberts has made ruling after ruling since Obama became President that defy explanation … that are illogical. That make no sense.
Prior to that, his rulings were consistent and well founded ... it's why his nomination was approved.
So what’s going on?
As I said in an earlier thread ( https://www.liberalforum.org/topic/261895-scotus-loses-its-census-over-citizenship/?tab=comments#comment-1061198532 ), I think it’s time to consider a serious possibility … that Justice Roberts is being bribed or blackmailed by the left ... by Obama and his associates. Judge Roberts started acting squirrelly about the time Obama began spying on everyone using the intelligence community. We now KNOW they did this. So is it all that far fetched to think Obama might have tried to acquire dirt on members of the Supreme Court, too … since the Supreme Court was going to be so important in the coming struggle on issue after issue? What else can explain Chief Justice Roberts' sudden conversion from one who had decided to strike down Obamacare to a justice who dishonestly twisted and perverted the law to uphold it as constitutional? What else can explain Roberts' conversion from being sharply critical of the FISA court during his nomination to allowing it to be illegally used in the way it was against Trump … right under his nose (since he is in charge of overseeing the FISA Court)? What else can explain this illogical decision by him regarding the census and citizenship?
There are credible allegations that John Brennan and James Clapper, working for Obama, hacked Roberts' phone, computer, etc and discovered something that would give them leverage over Roberts. Perhaps it was proof that he illegally adopted his sons, as has been suspected. Or perhaps something worse. There are tapes, released by Federal Judge G. Murray Snow, that show real estate billionaire Timothy Blixseth explaining Brennan and Clapper’s surveillance program to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and detective Mike Zullo. At one point, the three begin pulling up specific names of targeted individuals on a computer screen. You can hear Blixseth say “You know who that guy is? That’s the head of the FISA court they hacked into, Reggie Walton.” He also says, “John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, was hacked.” Here are the tapes …
Larry Klayman was the attorney for former NSA and CIA contractor and whistleblower Dennis Montgomery. Montgomery says this about who he is … “I was a CIA contractor both under John Brennan and under James Clapper and these individuals were running domestic surveillance programs in the United States collecting information on Americans. This isn’t political. They were collecting information on Republicans and Democrats. But they collected everything they could find. Bank accounts, phone numbers, chats, emails, and they collected a massive amount of it under the Obama administration.” Montgomery delivered to the FBI 47 hard drives and data amounting to more than 600 million pages of documentation on the surveillance scheme of Obama, thinking the FBI would do something about it. Then-FBI director James Comey’s general counsel James Baker took the data into his possession … and then nothing happened. NOTHING. Despite possessing Montgomery’s bombshell whistleblower revelations, Comey never acted on or publicized the information. And of course we know why now. Comey was part of the seditious cabal and coup. Referring to information that Montgomery showed him, Blixseth, in the above audio clip, says “This guy showed me 900 million phone calls. And I see myself in there. I see people I know. I see Donald Trump in there a zillion times, and Bloomberg is in there.”
Folks, you need to accept the fact that Obama was SPYING on numerous Americans and it is only logical to believe that he used what he found to gain advantage. He wasn't doing it for no reason. And who better to blackmail than a critical Supreme Court Justice who would rule in numerous cases that were bound to come before the court during and after his Presidency. That Roberts also oversaw a key part of the “insurance policy” they hatched against Trump was just icing on the cake. Roberts being blackmailed explains so much. The illegal surveillance system was real. It even had a name “The Hammer” (HAMR). The existance of HAMR was confirmed when Wikileaks dropped the Vault & catch of classified CIA documents about CIA hacking programs. Operation Crossfire Hurricane was real and it was run by John Brennan, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and a few others in the CIA, intel community, DOJ and FBI. It was an operation to damage and impeach President Trump because they were afraid that Trump’s Presidency would lead to public exposure of what they did … i.e., illegally spy on countless Americans using HAMR. Montgomery maintains that Brennan and Clapper illegally collected data on 159 Article III judges, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, and one-time head of the FISA court Judge Reggie Walton. Everything the past 3 years has been about covering that up. And you can see why. It’s EXPLOSIVE. Fortunately, the coverup failed. So now they are desperately trying to just keep from being prosecuted. It's a dangerous time for the Republic. These people would rather see open civil war in this country than be held accountable for what did. This isn’t a fairy tale folks … this isn’t fake news … this is a real threat. Our country hangs in the balance depending on what happens now. If these people win, all of us ... ALL OF US ... will be living in a totalitarian nightmare. Think about that.